Sunday, April 16, 2006

Prayer Requests--4/9/06

Please lift up in prayer the following people:
Joann--for guidance in dealing with her diagnosis and her illness

Evelyn--for healing and perseverance and grace and peace

Jack D.-for healing from his paralysis and pain

Rick's Dad--pray for him as he goes to get a CAT scan

Bri's Mom--This young classmate of my sister, her mother has weeks to live. Pray for the family.

Gene--pray for healing from his near severing of his finger

Pray for the D. Family as Charles returns home, and pray for this little boy to get the help he needs!

God bless you, and please hold these folks up in prayer!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday Service--THE WAY OF THE CROSS




Sunday, April 09, 2006

April 9, 2006 Sermon Notes-Palm Sunday-"Good Time Christians"

Note: posts are taken from loose outline notes of the pastor. Actual sermon delivery may have differed in some content. No video available of sermon. Sorry!

Text: Mark 11:7-11; Luke 19:39-41

What a wonderful, beautiful day! The sun was shining. The people were gathered and jubilant. The Passover was coming. Also, that amazing prophet and teacher Jesus is coming to Jerusalem! What an amazing person! He is supposed to have healed many and even raised the dead! All the stories of Christ and his teaching and miracles is bubbling through the town, as pilgrims from all around Israela nd the area come to celebrate the Passover. And there He came, on that colt, and look at how the people celebrate. Look at how they fawn over Him. Could He be the Messiah? Will He overthrow Rome?

Fast forward to Friday of that week. Where are the adulant crowds? Where is the sun? Where is the pararde, the laurels heaped on Him? Gone! All that was left was Him on the cross and lots of scorn. The thousands who yelled hosana were now yelling crucify, and His closest friends were hidden. One had betrayed Him, and another would deny Him three times. What ahappened to the throngs, the followers? These were good time Charlies, good time Christians. They just followed the fad. They just wanted something to do. The didn't study, they didn't understand that the kingdom could only be opened this way. They saw only that he Wasnt the guy on the White Horse, killing Romans.

How easy it was to follow Jesus that sunny day, and how easy for us to follow Him and praise Him in sunny times. However, where are we when the dark times come? Are we still there, serving and praising Him in spite of our pain and suffering, or are we running away, or are we heaping scorn?

We must not be good time Christians. It is easy to be a Christian when times are good or we want something. However, it is not so easy when others need us, when God needs us. Christianity is about more than just us reading the Book and being nice. It is a call to service and to action. It is a call to self-sacrifice and self-denial.

Christ was so upset during Palm Sunday he cried. Was he crying for Himself, the heartbreak that would happen when even for a time His Father rejected Him? No, he was crying for the throngs who were just blindly celebrating, not truly part of Him, but rather just the hangers on. He was crying for Us.

See, folks, Christ knows the loneliness we all have. He knows the pain and suffering of the body, the mind, the spirit. He went through it all. He went through all of it for us. And He did it knowing He would be rejected, knowing He would be spat upon. He did it for us. We, in turn, need to be willing to hang on that cross with Him, to stand and be counted.

We will face times when we need someone, when we feel alone. God is there, waiting. He understands. Often we say, God doesn't understand, but He does. He bore the Sin of past, present and future, all for the good of saving us. He understands rage, guilt, pain. He experienced it all. He wants to be what we were not for Him--there, ready and willing to take up our cause and love and advocated for us.

There will be dark times. Times like today, when we get all sorts of bad news about folks we care about. Christ got a lot of that. However, we need to know he is there, ready to take our burden, ready to minister to us. Ready to for us to be part of his personal family. We will no longer be th hangers on the outside, we will be part of that inner circle.

God tells us to give praise in all circumstances. He does not tell us to be happy all the time. He expects us to feel bad some of the time. He wants us to give that to Him, to trust him with it. He desires for us to be open with Him. He doesn't want the fake yesmen Christians, He wants real Christians, ones who may need some support, and occaisionally the kick in the pants. He wants us, and he wants to be apart of everything, good, bad, indifferent. He wants to be what we weren't for Him--support and there. Please, ask Him into your heart, or renew your commitment to Him. You need Him. He needed us, we weren't there. thankfully, He is there for us. Call to Him, lay your burdens on Him. Free yourself from that worry, that uncertainty.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

April 2, 2006--What is Our Foundation Sermon Notes

Note--sermon taken from loose notes of pastor. Actual delivery of sermon live may have varied. This is not a direct transcript. No video available. Sorry!

Text: Matthew 7:25; 2 Corinthians 13:3; Romans 10:10

We've been kind of talking about faith the last few sermons, and I want to continue that, because as the Scripture goes "without faith it is impossible to please God." Today, we want to get at the roots of faith, the foundation. Lately we have been going through the nuts and bolts of Christianity, vs. just living a good/decent life. I want to discuss where faith plays into that. The first thing we need to do is to ask:


We need to earnestly apply this question to our personal selves and in practicality. We need to practice and apply God's teaching about building on the sure foundation--of rock vs. sand. How concerned are we to really ask ourselves: what is the foundation of my hope? On what do we build our expectation of entering the kingdom? Is it based on our orthodoxy, how we live? Is it based on our "right opinions?" While having the right methods to life and the right views on moral issues are important, if this is what our foundation for entering the kingdom is, then we are building on that sand that will blow away. Our orthodoxy, our mental stuff, if you will, can be rocked based on relationships, things we read and hear, etc. It is not rock solid. It can change and be blown away. So it is not the right foundation. It is good to have these things, but they should be a part of the house, not the foundation.

What about belonging to the perfect church or social group? Is our group refined and pure, is it good doctrinally and such? This too is building on sand. Conditions in churches and social groups are fluid, and can change on a whim.

Our orthodoxy and our church ar reasons for praising, but they are not true holiness, true hope of the expectation of the entrance to the kingdom. It is not building on the rock. How do we build our expectation of entrance to the kingdom?

Come up higher than our orthodoxy, our theology, our social groups! Don't be content with good works. Call after the Holy Spirit. Do you feel and see God's power in the everyday? You should. Miracles happen every day, just our focus is such we don't acknowledge them. Everyday water comes out of your walls and allows you to wash in your basin. Everyday the lights come on. These are miracles, modern day. Yet, we just poopoo that thought. However, we have faith they will happen, even if we don't understand the works. Why can't we have faith in God, when we don't fully understand how that works? If we see God's power in the everyday, if we see it, and especially if we don't, then we need to go and learn: By grace are we saved.

We need to learn to hang on the Cross--We need to realize that all we have done is fruitless and useless but for the grace of God. Imagine hanging on that Cross as Christ-- His ministry and accomplishments meant little to others and probably himself at that point--He was on the cross. Likewise, when we hang to the cross, we are casting our troubles on Him. When we hang on the cross, we are acknowledging that we can't bear it. Christ takes it on him. When we hang on the cross we are laid bare, much as Christ was--it is just us and Him. That is when we need to apply to Christ as the thief who hanged with him or the harlot with seven devils did--save or I perish! We need to pray--Lord, increase my faith, or give me faith. for only that saving faith can stand firm.

Building on the rock means having faith in Christ enough to build your whole life on it. To put it all out there. There will still be issues when we build on this rock. It remains for God to prove the grace He has given by testing us. Even the wise are tried. The rain will descend, the flood will rise. There will be times when our troubles are so huge we feel drowned. Just as Job did. Remember Job, the blessed one? Satan got all Job's blessings taken from him, nearly even his life, but Job held firm. He had faith in the promise that God is, above all else, faithfully loving.

The ground may tremble. The storms of life may bring floods of rain and wind which rock and sway the house. However, God will say, at some point, here and no further. He will not give us more than we can bear. The winds will beat on us but will not prevail, if we have faith. If our foundation is in Christ, that He is the author and perfector, then our hosue may get wind damage, but it will not fall. The wise ones build on Christ by faith and through Christ are safe, even though the stuff of life happens, they are safe building on the rock because it is in the shadow of the Almighty, and that shadow is our port in the storms.

March 26, 2006--Trapped in the Elevator Blues

Note: This post is taken from loose outline notes of the actual sermon. Actual live sermon may have differed. This is not an exact transcript. No video of sermon available. Sorry!

Text: Hebrews 11:1-6

Last week, I was away from church. Actually I was home in bed, having just gotten home at 5am from Detroit Michigan. I attended an event with my two cousins and their friend. It was Big Time Wrestling. Forgive me, Lord, it is one of my vices. Well, anyway, I drove up last Saturday morning to Columbus, to meet David and Darren, and then we drove to Detroit, Michigan. Oh my, what a long trip. We had a good time, though, even though at the state line, Darren's friend lost his hat at Arby's, so we did have a casualty. Maybe that was foreboding of what was to come.

Anyway, we attended the event in a broken down arena in Detroit, Cobo Arena. It makes my old Cincy Gardens look like the Ritz. Well, it was a good time. Got to hang with my cuzzes and we had a good time rooting on the good guys and cheering the bad.

Well, anyway, we left the arena, and we went to the parking garage. We were on the fifth floor, so we were gonna take the elevator up to the fifth from the first. With my bad knee, it would have taken a long time. Well, we got into the elevator and we were immediately shoved into the back. It was obvious to us all the weight limit was reached, but 15 people outside couldn't wait so they shoved in. "There's more room in there." We tried to tell them it wasn't about the room, but about the weight. They, of course, knew better. Well, the elevator got stuck. Yep, it went up briefly, then went down and got stuck in the shaft, in between the first floor and the bottom of the shaft. The doors didn't open.

Now, of course, one could get angry at the people who pushed in...and I was. However, this did not last. My emotions ran the gamut. Anger at the fools who didn't listen. Aggravation at their stupid jokes, which quickly turned into one girl just constantly repeating "this is bad." To fear, how much air we have in here anyway? to, loathing-Lord, I hate the people outside.

Of course, was any of this healthy? No. Was it productive? No. All it did was raise my bloodpressure. I noticed on this elevator there were a few different kinds of people. There were the doubters--it is no big deal, this can't be happening. How many do we know who want to live in complete denial of their situations and in complete denial of God? Lots. Then, there are the doomsayers. These are the ones who seriously think we are going to die in the elevator. There were quite a few of them. They began yelling and screaming and talked of beating down the window to the outside. These folks refuse to see God in anything, and view life as a constant downturn. Then, there are the complainers. These were the folks yelling about how cramped or how hot. They did little to aid the situation, they just exasperated it. There are many out there like them. Then, there are the callers. One person was able to reach their cell phone and dialed 911. There was a firestation 2 blocks down the street, so we should be out in no time. Well, 1 hour later...we finally get out.

These wwas another group of people--those who realized there was no control, and simply said wait it out. These are the Christians of the group. You see, life at times is like getting stuck in an elevator. We realize we are not in control. We realize that no matter what, some times accidents and other things happen. Rather than needlessly rail against things we can't control, we need to learn to deal with them, and to call upon someone who could help us. The complainers who screamed for someone outside to help us, they were engaging in futility. However, the person who called 911? Smart. He called someone who could help. However, our 911 needs to be God, Christ. We cannot expect earthly salvation to always work. Quite simply, we are finite and tiny, and the world is so big and chaotic. Things happen. We are not in control. HOwever, we need to take comfort in the fact that God is in control. Pray and have faith. Once the call was placed to 911, I had no doubt we would get out safe. However, after an hour, that faith was shaken, but it was solid. Likewise, our faith can be shaken, but it needs to remain steadfast. After all, we are stuck here anyway, least we can do is not sweat the stuff.

When things go out of control, as most things are, we need to bring our faith in. Faith is the key. Faith is what gets us through the heartache and physical ache of many things in our lives. Without faith in God, we are helpless. Even small faith, like mine, that getting trapped on the first floor is not a death sentence, can move mountains. I stayed calm, even though I was angry. Why? Because I knew that getting crazy or what have you would be futile. I was not in control. therefore, I gave control and ownership of the issue to God. I laid it at his altar. I did also lay my sin burdens as well, just in case. That helped me to remain calm, even if uncomfortable. So, when we get stuck on the elevators of life, make the call to the Godly 911, then don't worry. The prayer/call will be answered. And it will be at just the right time.

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