1 Peter 2:11 ESV Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. There is a war going on within each of us, and many people are unaware of how intense the battle really is. Some are even completely unaware of the battle and go on living their lives each day as helpless victims of the onslaught that rages inside them. They don’t realize that they are losing the war because they are oblivious to the fact that it is happening at all. The Apostle Peter’s exhortation was for us to recognize the battle that is being waged inside us and to not sit idly by and lose the fight without even engaging the enemy. Peter identifies the aggressor in this battle as “the passions of the flesh.” He says that these “passions” wage war against a […]

Being God-Centered and Answering His Call Date: July 4, 2017 Audio Sermon: Click on the play button below description. Being God-centered is essential to trusting God. The opposite of being God-centered is being self-centered. So what does it really mean to have a God-centered approach? How should we think about being God-centered? And how can we form that habit in our lives? In this sermon, these two approaches to life are contrasted by drawing upon the record of King Asa where he took one approach and then decided to try the other under fairly similar circumstances (2 Chr 14 & 16). The immediate outcome of the two approaches seemed to be the very similar on the surface, but in fact, they were very different in the aftermath. God is calling each of us to do specific things for him. But what he does is calls us to join him in […]

What in the World Are We Doing!? Date: June 2, 2017 Video Sermon: Click on the play button below description. Paul tells Timothy to “keep the commandment unstained” (1 Tim 6:14). Furthermore, James in his letter exhorts his readers to “keep oneself unstained by the world” (Jas 1:27). In this sermon, we look at how the world can stain us, and thereby allow it to stain the commandment (i.e., instruction) of God. The problem is that Scripture tells us that we are to not be stained by the world, that God loves the world (Jn 3:16), that Jesus said we are “not of the world” but has called us “out of the world” (Jn 15:19), that Jesus prays for us not to be “taken out of the world” for he has sent us “into the world” (Jn 17:15, 18), and that through our faith we have “overcome the world” (1 […]

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. (Jas. 2:24 ESV) James begins this section (2:14-26) with a rhetorical question, “What does it profit, my brothers, if someone says he has trust but does not have works? Is that trust able to save him?” (2:14). Previously, James had asserted that believers are to be not only hearers of the word, but doers of the word as well (1:22-25). In addition, “religion that is pure and undefiled” is caring for those in need, such as orphans and widows (1:27). In connection with his description of “true religion,” James now considers how showing favoritism does not cohere with having trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He sketches an incident where a person professes to trust in Jesus but then fails to live according to the law of love taught by Jesus. Such behavior is inconsistent and hypocritical. […]

Forged in the Furnace of Life Date: April 21, 2017 Audio Sermon: Click on the play button below. We all look at suffering as something undesirable, unwanted, and evil. While suffering might not be what God had in mind when he created Adam and Eve, their mistake has caused suffering to be an inherent component of human life. In this sermon, I talk about how suffering is tough, temporary, and transformational. Suffering is hard; it often pushes us to our limits. No one wants to go through it, but suffering is a natural part of living in this broken world with the power of sin and Satan at work. Strikingly, the NT writers had quite a positive outlook on suffering, especially when it was on account of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Both the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter have important things to say about how the […]

Jeremiah 31:3 NASB I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness. The First Lover God is the one who first loved—He is the first lover. He loved you before you were born…before any of us were ever born. The letter of 1 John explains that love does not originate from us, but rather from the God who IS love. 1 John 4:10 ESV In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us. We would not know love unless God had extended His love to us. Long before you were born, God was intent on loving you. Before you breathed your first breath, God’s love embraced you. In your mother’s womb, God’s love was there in the darkness. And from the moment you came into the world and let out your first cry, God’s love has been with […]

In the preface to God in the Dock by C. S. Lewis, Walter Hooper, in writing about a certain time when he and Lewis were reflecting on the issues facing Christianity in the modern culture (specifically reception with younger people), says, “One day we were speculating as to what would happen if a group of friendly and inquisitive Martians suddenly appeared in the middle of Oxford and asked (those who did not flee) what Christianity is. We wondered how many people, apart from voicing their prejudices about the Church, could supply them with much in the way of accurate information. On the whole, we doubted whether the Martians would take back to their world much that is worth having. On the other hand, ‘there is nothing,’ Lewis argued, ‘in the nature of the younger generation which incapacitates them for receiving Christianity.’ But, as he goes on to say, ‘no generation […]

Holiness is a Matter of Habit Date: January 7, 2017 Audio Sermon: Click on the play button below. Holiness is when we reflect the character of God in our life. But such patterns of living are foreign to us at the time when we become a son or daughter of God. Holiness is built in the life of a believer just like any other type of behaviorism…through repetition and training (and of course, with the help of the spirit of God). In other words, holiness is not something achieved by having the right checklist or knowing all the do’s and don’ts. Holiness is about a shift in our attitude and desire that stem from a change in our character, and our character is influenced by what sort of personal qualities we are nurturing in our life and the type of choices we make each day. In this sermon, I encourage […]

Jesus is calling… You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt. 5:13-16 NIV) Jesus tells his disciples that they are the “light of the world.” He uses this metaphor of being “light” because light was extremely important in the biblical culture where there were few sources of illumination and it was dark everywhere after the sun would go down below the horizon. To expound what he means by saying that his disciples are “light,” Jesus gives two illustrations. First, he says that a town on a hill cannot be hidden, and […]

I heard a story one time about a man who was stranded by himself on a small island in the middle of the ocean. When he was finally located and the rescue team arrived, they noticed three huts on the island. While he was being tended to by the medical team, one of the doctors asked him why there were three huts. The man grinned as he sat up, pointed to the first one, and said, “That one is my home.” Then he pointed to the next one and said, “That one is my church.” And then he pointed to the last one and said, “And that was my former church.” Such a story is humorous and makes us laugh because of the irony and silliness, but is it really that far off from the attitude of so many people? It is astonishing the reasons that people come up with […]