Monthly Archives: February 2010

Sunday Services 2/21/10

As promised, there is a double spin of sermons for you this week.  The morning sermon includes the notes that I put in the bulletin, but I didn’t do any handout notes on Sunday night so there aren’t any for that one.

The Sunday morning sermon is entitled “What Does God Want Me To Do?” and you can listen by clicking on the play button below.  The notes will be located below the audio for the evening service.

The audio for the evening service can be heard by clicking the play button directly below.  The texts for this sermon are found in 1 Corinthians 9 and in Isaiah 58 primarily.

Here are the notes for the morning service.  I pray that God richly blesses you through His Word.

What Does God Want Me To Do?

Sermon notes 2/21/10

Mark 10

  1. Hardness of Heart
    1. The divorce discussion – Mark 10:1-12
    2. Parallel passage in Matthew 19:1-12
      1. Deuteronomy 24:1-4
    3. Jesus highlighted the nature of God instead
      1. The Law of Moses deals with God’s response to humanity in light of His character
  2. Haughtiness of Heart – Mark 10:17-31
    1. Why do you call me Good? – v. 18
    2. The commandments are Good – v. 19
      1. Nehemiah 9:13; Romans 7:12-13; Hebrews 6:5 – God’s Word is Good
      2. Jesus tells the man nothing new
    3. The young man’s boast and the Lord’s love – v. 20-21
    4. The call of discipleship – Follow Jesus – v. 21
  3. Humility of Heart – Mark 10:46-52
    1. A request born of desperation
    2. Jesus tells him to go and yet he follows – v. 52
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Categories: 1 Corinthians, Isaiah, Mark, Podcasts, Sermon | Leave a comment

Shock Treatment for the Soul

Update:  My friend Steve from theoldadam blog decided to post this video on his blog and I have also been engaged in the conversation over there as well as the conversation I am having with Steve here.  I love Steve as my brother in Christ even though I know we don’t see eye to eye on this issue.  If you have never checked out his blog before, I would encourage you to see his perspective more fully at his site.  There are more commenters over there who speak from his perspective.

I have no words to describe this message.  Those of you who read here frequently will certainly recognize that this is something God has been working in my life to teach me His truth.  I wanted to share this here.  The video is about an hour long.  I would encourage you to watch it.

Categories: Christianity, church, Discipleship, Faith, Gospel, Grace, Law, Love, Salvation, theology, Truth | 27 Comments

Money, Ministry and Motivations

Yesterday, I got a strange call.  As a pastor, I am no stranger to odd requests and since the church phone rings in our house; we get to answer a lot of calls that might be better left to the machine.  When I answered the phone yesterday morning, the person on the other end didn’t bother with any pleasantries like an introduction or name; she simply blurted out the words, “Do you take credit cards?”  I have to admit that I was caught completely off guard by both the question and the directness with which it was offered.  The only response I could come up with that quickly was, “This is a church,” with an astonished tone of voice.

Obviously this girl has made a lot of these calls, because she wasn’t fazed in the least at my response.  She said that she understood that she was indeed calling a church and asked me again if we take credit cards.  At this point, I simply said that we don’t take them and she clarified my statement by saying that if people wished to give to our church they must do so by cash or check to which I replied, yes.  She didn’t explain why she had called or say anything else at this point, but simply disconnected the call.  I still have no idea who they were or whether this was a survey or what.  I was astounded at both the tone of the call and the content and it jarred me into thinking about the reasons for the call.

I know that there are churches that do take credit cards.  As our society increasingly moves away from writing checks (which is something that we rarely do I will admit), and cash becomes less used in favor of the ease and convenience of debit and credit cards at the register (which saves those poor cashiers from having to count out change); this may become more of an issue for churches.  I am curious what you all think about the situation.  I have personal aversions to credit cards in church because the Bible actively discourages indebtedness because the borrower becomes a slave to the lender (thank you Dave Ramsey for helping me learn that lesson), so I can’t imagine this being a good idea for that regard.  But debit cards function in the same manner as credit cards in terms of how they are processed; so if you make provision for the use of them, you open the door to the credit card issue again.  I am curious what those of you who read this think about this issue.

And since I am already talking about money, I have another subject to mention along those lines.  I have written previously about the fact that ministry must be a calling as opposed to a career or else it will ultimately be in vain.  I still stand by my statements in this regard and recently heard another story that deepened my convictions in this matter.  While I cannot share any details here, it came to my attention that a sister church had called a pastor who decided not to come because they couldn’t meet his salary demands.  As a pastor who has spent many years in a bi-vocational role, I still find it hard to imagine how a pastor can make a decision based on the salary he will receive from a church.  I know this can be a thorny issue for some, but for me it goes back to the heart of what Jesus taught in Matthew.  Our Father knows what we need to live, and He has stated plainly that He will provide for our needs.  I can echo what Paul said about learning to be content with much or with little.  God has been gracious to let me experience both; and I learned well that He took care of me in either situation regardless of what I made.

Money is one of those issues that can really get intense.  It is said that arguments over money are the most frequent kind of arguments, so it is bound to be a touchy subject.  I think the Word makes it clear that if money is our master; we will have no room for another.  Do you think God would take a credit card?  Is it wrong for a church or ministry to do so?  I will admit that I am very glad that I can use my debit card to pay for study materials and things like that online.  What do you think?

Categories: Christianity, church, Culture, Fun, Signs of the Times | 7 Comments

Sunday Morning 2/14/10

Sorry, there is no audio or sermon notes from Sunday morning.  I was attending training in the Black Hills late last week and we got stranded in Jamestown on our return trip Saturday.  I did manage to make it to church on Sunday morning while Clif, one of my wonderful deacons, was sharing from God’s Word.  He then invited me to come forward and share my message, which I did.  I did not have time to grab the recording device however or print out any sermon notes.  I will make it up to all of you who eagerly look for sermons here by posting two sermons for Sunday.  We are hosting the first community Lenten service on Sunday night, so I will be sure and post audio of it along with Sunday morning.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sunday Morning 2/7/10

Here is the sermon from Sunday morning.  The text is taken from Mark chapter 8 and deals with the cost of discipleship.  You can click play and follow along with the notes below if you are so inclined.  May God richly bless you through His Word.

How Quickly We Forget the Cost of Discipleship

Sermon notes 2/7/10

Mark 8

  1. Forgetting the Past – v. 1-21
    1. The feeding of the 4000 +
    2. The sign they asked for – John 6:26-33
    3. Worrying about bread
    4. Bread is teaching – Matthew 16:16
      1. Yeast – Wrong teaching
      2. Unleavened – God’s Word – 1 Corinthians 5:6-8
  2. Realizing the Present – v. 27-30
    1. Who do people say Jesus is?
    2. Peter recognizes who Jesus really is – v. 29
    3. Why the secrecy?
  3. Seeing the Future
    1. Jesus speaks plainly to the disciples – v. 31-38
    2. Peter’s “blunder” – v. 33
    3. Counting the cost – v. 34-38
Categories: Disciples, Gospel, Mark, Podcasts, Sermon | Leave a comment

Ice Age

For a little fun, I thought I would change pace and talk about the weather.  I think Al Gore must have been making the rounds based upon the vast amounts of snow that the country is getting.

Here in our neck of the woods, we have seen a lot of snow this winter.  This is our third winter living just south of the Canadian border in ND and the piles are higher already this year than the previous two with two more months or so of potential winter yet to go.  I just wanted to share a few recent pictures for those who visit the blog.

The picture of me standing next to the bank was taken today.  The others were taken on Friday, before the most recent snow storm dropped about 5-6 inches of snow this weekend.

Categories: adventures in the cold, family, Fun, Humor, personal | 2 Comments

Will He Find Faith?

While the question itself is borrowed from Luke 18:8, I wish to take a few moments to follow up on the post I made a couple of weeks ago about where faith belongs. Last week I ran across a reference to an interview of Christopher Hitchens done by a Unitarian minister named Marilyn Sewell while reading one of my favorite blogs (hat tip to Vox Day).  He highlighted a portion of the interview and I wanted to include a little bit more of it here(the interviewers questions are in bold and the replies are in regular text):

The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I’m a liberal Christian, and I don’t take the stories from the scripture literally. I don’t believe in the doctrine of atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make and distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?

I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.

Here is an atheist who has a better understanding of the basis of Christian doctrine that the self-professed Christian who is asking the questions.  But I would take it a step further.  Just acknowledging the facts that Jesus is the Messiah and that he died and rose again isn’t the end all, be all of Christianity.  In fact, if we look at the words of James, this doesn’t even begin to describe the Christian faith since Satan and the demons believe it because they saw that Jesus died and rose again(James 2:19).  There is much more that could be said here, but I will save it for now.  Hopefully, you get the point of what James is getting at in his book. Continue reading

Categories: Agnostics, Apologetics, Atheists, Bible Thoughts, Christianity, Culture, Discipleship, Faith, False Teachers, Signs of the Times, theology, Truth | 3 Comments

Sunday Morning 1/31/10

My apologies to the regular listeners.  I had a problem with the recorder on Sunday and it didn’t record the message.  We will be back with next week’s sermon.  God bless.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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