It was not anything like the circumstance I had imagined for so long, but Little Hills Church had its very first message last night. Not in the midst of a celebratory launch service with joyful music and a packed crowd, but with me sitting in front of my desk facing a camera.
Live streaming is a very different thing from public worship, but I find myself grateful as I watch churches and individuals all across the nation using the technology we have at our disposal today to encourage a hurting world with hope from God’s Word. Like the roads of the an oppressive empire two thousand years ago that, in spite of that empire, served to convey the Gospel, I believe we are watching the Gospel go unhindered in new ways in the midst of of the oppression of an invisible little virus.
I haven't been able to share this on my blog until now because I had started some “renovations” that took the blog down over Christmas, but I put together a new 12 Days of Christmas devotional this year and would love to invite you to join me in journeying through Romans as we enjoy the afterglow of Christmas. It isn't too late to start! Check it out here.
One of the things they made a big deal out of in seminary was not to preach “be like” sermons. The Bible (intentionally, I believe) is full of stories that show the flaws in the individuals whom God uses, not cleaned up “heroes” we should model ourselves after — that role is left for Jesus alone. That said, the church at Berea is an interesting anomaly of sorts: all we know about them is that they were “noble” for their eagerness to examine the Scriptures and that they responded in belief. To be called to “be like the Bereans” is to be called to be eager to dig into God's Word. That's a great thing and that's what we explore in Acts 17:10-15.
Palm Sunday is an interesting day — joyful and yet incomplete feeling since we know what comes afterward during Holy Week. For this year's message, we turned to Zechariah 9:9-17 to explore the partial and complete fulfillment of the Messianic promises we find in Jesus's triumphal entry into Jerusalem. By doing so, we learn more about the mission Jesus calls us into as citizens of His Kingdom.
As FaithTree begins its Winter/Spring season, Brad Harris (Associate Pastor at Bible Baptist) and I began a message series delving deeper into the One who is Better, following up from my sermon from a few weeks ago. You can see our shared message on Heb. 12:1-2, as well as the rest of the service from Thursday, January 10, below. (Don't miss the great worship music before and after the message!)
For the last six years, I have had the joy to share God's Word the Sunday after Christmas (seven years ago, my first Christmas as a pastor, I shared a message the Sunday before Christmas). For this year's message, I felt led to turn to Hebrews 1:1-4, a beautiful, powerful description of the one born in Bethlehem. Now that the Christmas rush has died down and we find ourselves on the sixth day of Christmas, let's dig into more about the one who came to save us on that first Christmas morn.
Have you ever noticed the silence that happens on Christmas Eve? One of my favorite memories growing up was leaving church after Christmas Eve service and seeing the normally busy stores all over the city shutdown in observance of Christmas. Of course, even if the stores are closed, we usually have so much going on between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that the lessening of one sort of busyness is only replaced with another sort. In the midst of this, we can often struggle to find time to truly reflect on what we're celebrating: God With Us.
That's why I love celebrating the 12 days after December 25 that lead to Epiphany, traditionally known as the Twelve Days of Christmas. It provides time to reflect. A time to take in the mystery of the Incarnation. A time to reflect on how every single celebration of Christmas is a call to us to respond to God's grace and experience his presence in our lives.
I preached on Romans 8:28-39 at Grace PCA this weekend. These are some of the most beautiful words ever written and ones that I've found myself interacting with a lot these past few weeks. In this message, we look at how they are meant to assure us of God's already finished work that we cannot yet fully see.
What do we do when Christ calls? Do we react by seeking to hide from his call or to wonder at it? In this message from Matthew 2:1-12, 16-19, we examine the responses Herod and the Wisemen made to God's calling.
In this message, we turn to Luke 17:11—17:19 to see how God recalibrates our focus in order that we can see what is truly important.