In the final installment of this series, David will answer several frequently asked questions surrounding the topic of "The Church and Homosexuality." He answers questions like, "Will Northridge Church fully accept a gay person?" "Isn't the Bible's view a modern form of racism?" and "What do we do now that same-sex is legal in our country?"
In this series we are talking about how to handle the issue of homosexuality with truth and grace. We must be full of truth and full of grace. In this second message, we will talk about rethinking our responses to this issue. Because how we have responded has hurt our ability to impact our culture. And Paul gives us careful instructions on how to respond to the world around us when we live very differently.
There is no greater cultural debate in our day than the issue of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. As followers of Christ, our first question is always "What Does the Bible Say?" In part one of this series, we will look at every passage that directly talks about homosexuality to see what it really does and doesn't say.
In Corinth, sexual immorality seems to have been the "norm" not only in the city, but even in the church. In part 1 of this message, we considered how someone should think to help us flee sexual immorality and honor God with our bodies. In part 2 of this message, we will consider what a Christian should do to flee sexual immorality and honor God with our bodies.
In Corinth, sexual immorality seems to have been the "norm" not only in the city, but even in the church. In this passage, prostitution was a concern that Paul addressed. The topic of sexual immorality is equally important in our culture and in our church. In this message, we will talk about how to think in ways that help us to honor God with our bodies.
For the second chapter in a row, Paul speaks plainly but modern readers struggle to believe Paul means what he seems to clearly say. Is it true that we can't sue another Christian? Our minds begin to fill with "What if" questions, and wondering how people may take advantage of us if we have no legal recourse. What is Paul really saying about suing other Christians? The first eleven verses of this chapter help us think through this issue.
One of the favorite verses of our culture is Matthew 7:1 - Judge not or you will be judged." But in this chapter, Paul clearly tells the church to judge one of their own. When are we supposed to judge and when shouldn't we? In this chapter Paul makes some principles very clear that seem to be commonly ignored by many Christians and churches.
How can we know if the resurrection really happened? How can we verify an event from 2000 years ago? In this message we will look at several embarrassing realities surrounding the story of the resurrection that help prove it is true. They are things that happened that wouldn't have been included if the account was fictional, because they might help discredit Christianity. But in reality, these embarrassing realities help prove the resurrection really happened.
In our last segment in the Fighting for Unity mini-series, we'll be exploring 1 Corinthians 4. When it comes down to it, the Apostle Paul believed there was a single issue which was causing the disunity in the Corinthian church - and that was the way they viewed their leaders. In this sermon, we'll discuss the proper way to view church leadership for the sake of unity - in other words, we'll be putting Pastors in their place.
Lines always create division - and there is no greater dividing line than truth. In the middle of his encouragement to the Corinthian church about the importance of unity - Paul pauses to describe the greatest of all dividing lines. A truth that was hidden, but now is revealed and it cuts through the clutter of our culture, our beliefs, our hopes, and our dreams - dividing all of us into one side or the other. The question is - which side are you on and what are you going to do about it?
How many churches are in Rochester? The theological answer, in a sense, is one. All those who are followers of Jesus belong to His Church. Well, what does that look like? Are denominations a good or a bad thing? How are we to talk about and think about other churches? This passage of Scripture helps us think through issues of church unity among all Christians.
The first nine verses of the book are an introduction. But this introduction may seem to not fit the book. It is full of praise and positive words. But as soon as the introduction is over, Paul gets authoritative and confrontational. Was his introduction just fluff? Or is it filled with important truths? I think the introduction was intentional and carries a great deal of meaning and encouragement for us in our spiritual struggles.
Acts 18 tells the story of Paul's 18 months in Corinth. Understanding what happened during those 18 months will help understand why the book was written, and it will help us know why Corinth was such an important city to Paul. He stayed in Corinth longer than any other city except Ephesus. Paul wanted to be at the crossroads of the Roman world - so the Gospel could be spread.
The book of 1 Corinthians is best understood if you know about the history, geography, culture and archaeology of the 1st century city of Corinth. This introductory sermon to the book explores what made the city so significant and we will explore some archaeological discoveries in and about this city.
Stories are incredibly powerful and if we are committed to living out Pray, Invest and Invite then there are two stories we must learn to tell well. We must learn to tell God's story and our own personal faith story in a way that's humble, clear and succinct. In this talk we will walk through how we can learn to tell both of these stories well.
New Year's Resolutions are part of life... a part of life that, for most of us, is a constant reminder of how bad we are at following through on our goals. No matter what our goals are, there seems to be a disconnect between our intentions and our follow through. But what if the Bible offered a fool-proof plan for making growth happen (for real this time)? In this talk, we'll explore how the Bible can give us insight into having a Fresh Start.
There are many one-word descriptions of Christmas: Joy, Peace, Love, and many others. But there is perhaps one word that best describes what Christmas is all about: Reconciliation. in this message, we will look at the popular movie "Home Alone" and a very important passage about why Jesus came and why Christmas happened.
On December 9, 1965, CBS ran a 28 minutes special called "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and it has been shown annually on TV ever since. There is a theme in this special that is as current today as when it first ran in 1965. It is focused on what Christmas is all about. We will consider that and ask how we should handle it when others ignore the reason for the season.
Everybody worries. None of us can travel through life without encountering situations that cause us to want to respond with worry and anxiety. But what if we could have an invincible defense against worry? In this talk, we'll explore what Jesus says about worry's ultimate solution and how we can find protection against worry.
We are commanded to grow, and we know that the goal of our growth is to obey God and love others. But what is the best way to make that happen? If it isn't through knowledge alone - how do we put ourselves in the best position to grow in our walk with Christ? This message will talk about the five primary ways that Christ followers grow in their faith.
We are all on a Spiritual Journey, and the Bible clearly tells us to own our spiritual growth. It is our responsibility to pursue growth. But what is spiritual growth - really? What's the goal? And how to reach that goal? To get that answer, we need to deal with some common myths of what spiritual growth is and isn't.
The Journey of the Christian life is different for every person. Our growth doesn't happen the same way or in the same timing. However, the starting place for the Christian life is the same for every believer. It begins with a choice. This message will focus on explaining the choice that must be made by every person when it comes to their relationship with God.
Parenting is the most important job we could ever be given, and yet for most parents when it comes to having a plan, we aren't sure what that plan looks like. In this talk we look to define what the Bible tells us our goal in parenting should be and talk through some practical steps to pursue that goal.
We live in a culture where cohabitation, adultery, pornography, and one-night stands are all "normal". But, from the pain and frustration we can see around us, "normal" clearly isn't working. Christians have a view of sexuality that is just plain weird, but it promises a path to intimacy, unity and satisfaction. In this talk, we'll unpack what the Bible has to say about the way to achieve lasting intimacy and fulfillment with (or without) sex.
In part 5, we asked "Must I Choose Between Faith and Science?" The answer was "no." We don't need to choose between faith and science, but we must choose between Philosophical Naturalism and Christianity. Today we ask questions surrounding evolution? Can you believe in evolution and believe the Bible? Can we consider Genesis 1-2 to be figurative? What are the options? How should we think about Theistic Evolution?
Is there a conflict between faith and science? Must I choose? If there is a conflict, do I ignore clear evidence from science that contradicts the Bible because I'm a Christian? How do I navigate this difficulty? This message will help focus on what the real issues are in debates between faith and science.
Many children die. What happens to them when they die? Most people assume they go to heaven? Do we have theological or textual evidence to support that assumption or is it based on sentimentality? This talk will attempt to answer that question and deal with the Bible's teaching on what happens to babies when they die.
Many Christians speak of "finding God's will" or "being in the center of God's will." Does God have a will that must be discovered? Am I to find out who God wants me to marry? When I should change jobs? What kind of car to drive? This sermon will look at the traditional will of God and a suggested alternative to pursuing this illusive will of God which can lead to great freedom and joy.
Today's talk is about identifying three potential "monsters" in your past and learning what to do about them. Any or all of these "monsters" often become a person's identity and continue to haunt their life. Does this describe you or someone you love? Join us as we look more closely at what God tells us to do to make the monsters in our closets friends for life so we can experience true freedom and forgiveness.
Did you grow up believing there were monsters in your closet? How crazy. Monsters are fake! What about now? Got a few monsters in your closet - Those real people or situations from your past that keep coming up that you wish would stay hidden in the closet, but won't. This week we will look at a situation in the Bible where everyone involved had some pretty significant "monsters" in their past…until God showed up! His grace changed everything.
A famous statement Jesus made in the garden near Gethsemane was "Let this cup pass from me." What did that mean? Understanding that statement can be one of the most helpful things in understanding the significance of the death of Jesus. This bonus talk from this series will deal with this single statement by Jesus and its implications for us.
The Bible simply says, "They crucified him" (Luke 23:33) without much description. The New Testament authors didn't need to describe it because everyone in the first century was very familiar with a crucifixion. In the 21st century, we know very little about crucifixion. This message will help us understand what Jesus went through on the cross - for us.
We know Jesus was crucified. However, the Jews weren't able to crucify anyone. They needed the Romans to do that. So they needed a charge that Rome would see as justification to crucify Jesus. That required a Jewish trial followed by a Roman trial. In this message - we will look at the trials and the likely locations of those trials in part 4 of the series Killing Jesus: The True Story.
At times we are under the wrong impression that the Jews could kill Jesus however and whenever they wanted to. That isn't true. It needed to be done through the Romans. But how could they get the Romans to want to kill Jesus? During part 3 of this series, we will consider the conspiracy and arrest of Jesus. And we will consider that it wasn't just the Jews who were in on the conspiracy.
Today we begin a five-week series about Killing Jesus: the True Story. People are typically familiar with the Triumphal Entry (Palm Sunday) and familiar with his death and resurrection. But the events that happened in between those two are mostly cloudy in people's minds. This first sermon will give an overview of what happened in the last week of the life of Jesus as we consider the implications of what He did, why they wanted to kill him, and how they accomplished it.
This series has given a lot of practical tools for reconciling relationships. But what if you have exhausted everything and nothing is working? Is there help available? What role is the church supposed to play in helping to reconcile relationships? This message will also talk about church discipline. What is it? What does it look like? Why would we discipline church members?
The Bible is clear that we should be quick to overlook the offenses of others. Yet sometimes, we shouldn't overlook when someone does something wrong to us. So how can we confront someone without it getting ugly? This message will look at how we can avoid a fight yet do what's right by confronting someone about their wrong behavior.
All of us live in relationships, and therefore, we all have conflict. That conflict may be minor or major, but we all have tension and conflict in relationships. The Bible clearly teaches the source of every conflict we have in our lives. And if we can understand the source of every conflict, it can allow us to better handle those conflicts.
Our greatest joys happen in or because of relationships. We are made to be in relationships. But with those relationships also bring some of life's deepest pains. If you are in relationships - you have had conflict. If you aren't in conflict with a co-worker, family member or friend now - you will be soon. That is part of living life in a fallen world. This is part one of a series helping us to understand conflict, why we do what we do, and how to respond differently.
We’ve all tried to do something at some point in our life where we have really put our hearts into it, giving it our best shot, trying as hard as we can – only to be met with failure. The problem is that we often allow these failures to be the end of the story – we let that become what defines us. But in Christ we are not defined by our past failures, in fact, in Him we are set free to live a new life shaped by the hope of tomorrow. In Him we can live - Failing Forward.
We are all madly and passionately in love with someone, and that someone is ourselves. Yet our selfish obsession is often the cause of the hurt, frustration and pain in our lives. In this message, we will discover what Jesus has to say about a different sort of love that heals hurts, overcomes pain and can change the course of our lives: In essence, it is Love at its Best.
In the final verses of 1 Peter, Peter sticks with the themes he's had in the entire book - suffering well and the hope of heaven. And he does it by pointing out God's amazing grace. God's promises of His grace have amazing results in our lives. But sometimes we are so focused on our suffering, we forget what is coming.
Peter tells us our enemy is real, we need to be alert for him, and we need to resist him. But the devil often is ignored - so do we even know what to look for? This message will show two errors Christians have when it comes to Satan, and show his two primary strategies he uses - so we can be alert and resist his advances.
It is the beginning of a new year. To start off 2014, we wanted to update the church on where we've been and where we are going. A majority of our church is new in the last five years. So we want to review a bit of our history, talking about finishing Creating Spaces well, and urging people to start well in 2014 - living lives of complete biblical stewardship.
If God's Word is eternal and without error then how are we to make sense of the differences that exist in our modern Bible versions? Do differences in our modern Bibles call into question the reliability of Scripture? Discover 5 reasons why there are differences among Bible translations and why they should not trouble us.
How would you respond to someone who said that the goal of their life is to love their life and see good days? My guess is you might pity them, correct them or pray for them. But Peter sets that up as an appropriate goal for life. We should love life and see good days. How can that be and what does that look like? In our passage we will study today, Peter gives us careful instructions on how to love the lives God has given to us and how to experience great days while we are here on earth.
Every husband needs to change and every wife wants her husband to change. Yet there is something inside of a wife and something inside of a husband that results in the very way a wife tries to get her husband to change makes him most resistant to change. The passage of Scripture we will study today talks about how to get your husband to change without nagging or manipulation.
The word "submit" is as close to a swear word if viewed as a cultural swear word and has caused many to label Christianity as sexist. Why does the Bible insist so strongly on submission? What does it really mean? And perhaps as importantly, what doesn't it mean? This talk will address those issues for marriage.
Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. We all know great parents who love God and taught their children to do the same, but whose children are not on "the way they should go." So is God not keeping His promise? Or are we misreading and misapplying that verse?
Jesus tells us to "Judge not, or we too will be judged", but is that what He really meant? Is it even possible when we are experts in seeing the failures of others and novices at identifying our own faults? Seeing this verse in context will reveal that it's time to put down the plank so we can see the sawdust.
Have you ever wondered why we talk about the Gospel so much? Have you ever wondered why your Christians friends are so different? Have you ever wondered why someone changes their lifestyle so much after "finding Jesus?" Have you ever wondered why we sing songs about the blood and the cross - as if it is a good thing? Have you ever wondered why we call Friday before Easter - Good Friday when it is the day of the death of Jesus? These two verses remind us again of the basics and beauty of the Gospel.
The theme of 1 Peter is finding hope when you suffer. The passage we will study in this sermon is about how to suffer like Jesus suffered. He was our example. That provides us with a template to trace in how we handle those who mistreat us. But to suffer like Jesus will require supernatural help because it is not natural.
Peter continues to talk about relational suffering that can happen because we are Christ-followers. In this brief section he talks about how to handle a boss, a manager, or colleagues who make you suffer because you are a Christ-follower. Peter tells us exactly what we ought to do to handle those moments. But unlike slaves, we have two options. Peter gave one - submit. We, as employees have two options; we can submit or quit.
Living as a spiritual minority in America presents challenges. Especially if we don't believe that God calls us to create a Theocracy. This past year and the coming years will likely be marked in American history where "civil rights" changed for homosexuals. How are we supposed to handle issues of homosexual marriage and rights? What is the biblical view of a culture that is changing on issues of biblical morality?
When you consider how Christians in the first century suffered and how some around the world suffer, it is hard to claim that we suffer at all in American as followers of Jesus. yet we are told that those who will live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. What does that look like in our culture? And what should our response be?
We live as a Spiritual Minority in our culture. Most Americans would call themselves Christians, but aren't necessary truly devoted to following God. So how are we to submit to authorities over us who don't submit themselves to God? This passage we will study helps us answer that question - as Peter gets specific for the first time on the issue of submission while suffering.
What is your identity? What words would you use to describe who you are? You would use your name, where you live, and perhaps where you are from. But how would you describe your identity? Knowing who you are has the power to change the reality of your life. Two verses in 1 Peter describe who we are in Christ and the descriptions are life-altering.
To every person, Jesus is either their cornerstone (the foundation of their life) in whom they trust, or he is their spiritual stumbling block over whom they trip spiritually. One way leads to life and the other to death. This message looks at the importance of those word pictures and attempts to apply them to our daily reality of life.
The resurrection of Jesus is the Greatest Story Ever. It means everything to us as followers of Christ. In fact, it is more significant that the birth of Jesus. It is the most important Holiday (Holy Day) for a Christian. Often we talk about the implications and importance of the resurrection, but in this message, David simply walks through the beauty of the story. It really is the greatest story ever.
Peter claims that the Bible has the power for salvation and transformation in our lives. So it is important to consider what might keep us from having the Bible play it's proper role in our lives. Jesus once told a parable that indicated some of the things that stop the Bible from influencing our lives. For two weeks, we will look at two of these thorns that stop the growth of God's Word in our lives.
Ever experience a storm so severe you thought you were going to die? Maybe you thought following Jesus would lead to a storm-free life? Maybe you knew storms would come, but you never expected them to bring you to a point of doubt. This message will teach us how to follow Jesus in faith through the storms of life!
At the moment when Elijah's greatest resolve faded, he was able to move on, to pick up the pieces, to get back to work, back to living, back to reality – only when he had come face to face with God’s grace – the unconditional favor that pours out so freely from the one who loved us so completely. So it is for us - rather than just adding one more thing to an already long to do list - let's call a redo, a restart, a reboot and by His grace stop listing and start living.
There is an emptiness in our hearts that drives each of us to pursue satisfaction and contentment in something or someone. But its a spiritual emptiness that cannot be satisfied by material things. In Ecclesiastes 5 Solomon warns us against 3 lies we can often times believe that rob us of true contentment in our lives and then offers us 2 truths we must consider instead.
20 Children killed in Connecticut. Perhaps this time of year, that is the biggest similarity to the story in Bethlehem. Jesus is born and every child (except him) dies in Bethlehem. Is that fair? Why does suffering immediately come on the heels of Jesus' birth? The second half of Matthew 2 is the part of the Christmas story not well known and rarely told. How does the hope of Christmas fit with our suffering?
There are parts of the Christmas story with which people are very familiar: the shepherds, the wisemen, the angels making announcements, and Mary "pondering these things in her heart." The second half of Matthew 1 tells the story from the perspective of Joseph. This message considers the Christmas story from Joseph's perspective and through the eyes of Joseph, we will consider Who Jesus is and why He came.
We all want to be generous and we all are pretty convinced if we had more, we'd be more generous. Our heart goes out to needs (disasters, crises, special projects). This final sermon in this series, we will consider what an upgrade in giving may look like. It isn't simply "give more" - it's about "give smarter" and "give better."
Not only can God use people who are broken but that is exactly the way He calls us to come to Him – with a broken spirit and a contrite heart. So we get to bring Him all the little pieces of our lives, not because of anything that we have done, but because...God broke Jesus, so He could fix us. "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed…Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer… and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand"
Paul writes that there is NO greater thing than KNOWING Jesus Christ. So what does it mean to know Christ? What keeps us from knowing Christ? How can we know Christ? Philippians 3:8 "What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ."
Our universe is incredible. It is a giant cosmic billboard. Just how big is it? Just how amazing is it? This talk focuses on what our universe tells us about our God and how it applies to each of our everyday lives. Psalm 19:1-2 "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge."
This is the second week of our summer series "God's Words with Friends." Mark Nelson talks about overcoming the fear of what other people think and fully trusting God. We stop living with insecurity when we start living in security. Proverbs 29:25 "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe."
This is the first week of our summer series "God's Words with Friends." The idea of the series will be for our pastors, elders, and some staff to share the verses that have made the most significant impact on their lives. David will share the first week on the verse that changed his life and set the directional course for Northridge Church. Acts 20:24 "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me —the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace."
In the first week of this series, we established that the Bible really does teach the reality of hell and that people will actually go there. But how long will they go there? There is a growing number of people who believe hell is temporary and that souls who go to hell will be annihilated. What does the Bible say about the eternality of hell?
Hell is a swear word in our culture - not a reality people dread. They "damn" people to a place they don't really believe exists. Does it exist? Why do so many Christians question its existence? What does the Bible really say about hell? Join us for part one of this series as we talk about "Raising Hell."
Mark 4:35-40, Matthew 22:37-38<br><br>We're never too old to be reminded of simple Biblical truths. The HighPoint team challenges us to take a look at what it means to trust God—both for the very first time and each day in the face of new circumstances. There are times when it’s hard to trust Him, when our problems are right in front of our face and it seems like there’s no way around it. But even then we can choose to depend on God because He’s bigger than our problems.
All of our lives reflect a story that is written on our hearts - it reveals who we are and what we believe. So what does your reflection reveal about what is written on your heart? God's Word tells us that through Jesus - a new story is being written - one that is radically different than anything we can write on our own. Through obedience and submission to His Word - we can become the character that God has designed for us to be in the story that only He can write.
Lust takes our God-given desires and perverts them. Lust takes a man's natural desire for sex and turns it into a priority of personal pursuit for pleasure apart from intimacy with his wife. Lust impacts most women different. Lust takes a woman's gift of allure and her God-given desire to be pursued by one man (her husband) and turns it into a desire to be pursued by other men - in sight, emotions or physically. Lust for women is often demonstrated in immodesty through flirtatious behavior and immodesty through enticing clothing.
65% of Christian men have viewed pornography in the last year. 35% have viewed pornography in the last month. This is an acceptable sin -not because people think it is "no big deal." It is acceptable because it is private. One can maintain public respectability and have a soul-destructive habit that no one knows about. This message will talk about the problem and the hope of the fight for purity.
Worry, anxiety and fear are common and acceptable responses by Christians and non-Christians alike to various situations in life. Yet Jesus indicates that they aren't acceptable. He said worry and fear shows a lack of faith. Yet no one would choose fear. And most with panic say it is unavoidable. Is there hope? Are there options? If so - what are they?
The third acceptable sin in this series is the sin of bitterness. This is an acceptable sin - not because it is so common - but because every person's pain is unique, we don't feel we can tell someone else how they should and shouldn't react to being sinned against. This message will recognize the hurt that brought bitterness, but also consider the alternatives to living a life of anger and bitterness.
If a committed Christ-follower cheated on their taxes, we would talk to them about it. If they murdered someone, we would turn them in. But if they gossip or complain - we will let them do that for the rest of their life with no rebuke or confrontation. Why are some sins "acceptable" among Christ's followers? This series will tackle some of the sins that we seem to accept as normal. The series will challenge us to submit every area of our lives to Christ - even ones that are "acceptable" to most Christians.
Many claim that all religions are equal. Others claim that Jesus is truly unique, but sincerity counts. And a minority of people in the world believe that Jesus is the only way. Which is correct? And if Jesus really is the only way - is that fair? What about those who have never even heard his name before? Do they really get hell just because they haven't heard the name of Jesus?
What do these words have in common: balance of power, majority rule, parliamentary procedures, ballots, board meetings, elections, and Robert's Rules of Order? Answer: None of them are found in the Bible. Most churches like Northridge are often more bound to the American constitution and the political system than they are to what the Bible says about how churches should function. This sermon will discuss what the Bible says and how Northridge tries to structure its leadership in a God-honoring, Biblically-appropriate way.
The Bible edition we've been using for over a decade is no longer published (NIV, 1984 edition). It has been replaced by 2011 edition, but this edition has taken a large amount of criticism. So we will be talking about what translation we will be using and why. In the process, the goal is to help us take the Bible very seriously (and the sermon isn't as boring as this description likely sounds).
God has gifted every follower in Christ with abilities, talents and skills. It is our responsibility to invest those abilities in various arenas in our lives. And like God, it should be in our very nature to serve others. This sermon will challenge all of us to consider living a life of servanthood.
Hebrews 10:19-31<br>How do lives change? Scripture says we have to be honest about the magnitude of our sins, flaws, and failings and boldly place our hope in God's mercy and grace. But we're also told it's impossible to do this alone. Real, lasting, triumphant breakthroughs will only come when we let others help, when we submit to Biblical community.
God has given each of us many blessings, and with those blessings come responsibilities. Those blessings can be enjoyed, need to be used, and are expected to be invested. This series will consider four blessings God has given to each of us and how we ought to invest them in the process of pleasing God.
Our Advent Conspiracy has four applications: Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, and Love Like Christ. Part 3 of this series will be looking at debt that is often dominates people's lives as a result of Christmas, and how celebrating Christmas with mounting debt takes away from the very purpose of Christmas.
In part 2 of the "Advent Conspiracy" series, we will consider the first and most important part of the conspiracy - worshipping Christ fully. Our culture pulls us in all types of directions at Christmas that have nothing to do with Jesus. This talk will be a simple reminder to focus on Christ or Christmas isn't really Christmas.
It seems that there are really two narratives at Christmas - two stories. One is the story from the Bible of a virgin giving birth to the Son of God. That story is all about Jesus. The other narrative is our cultural narrative. That narrative of Christmas isn't really about Jesus; it just uses Jesus for consumption. It is about gifts, stuff, family, stuff, food, and celebration. But Jesus is, in reality, absent from that narrative of Christmas. We will be talking about how to enjoy Christmas in our culture while keeping Christ central.
Luke 7:36-48 Have you every wished that you could take something back, that you could start over again, that you could have just one more chance to do things differently? Wouldn't it be great to live without the pain and regret of past mistakes and failures, to start all over again with a clean slate? What would it mean to you to trade in your scars for forgiveness and the weight of your past for redemption? This is exactly what happens in Luke 7 as a woman comes face to face with Jesus and experiences the reality that we are forgiven greatly to love deeply.
Understanding any important topic can be intimidating and even overwhelming. Often, understanding the core concept of a topic can help make sense and order of everything else. That is true with political movements, economic philosophies, or even theological concepts. The goal of this talk is to explain Christianity in two words. These two words give the core idea of Christianity. It is a central concept that still changes lives.
Ephesians 6:21-24 The Church in Ephesus was the most influential church in the first 300 years of Christianity, but soon after, it disappeared. Why? How? How can we be sure that won't happen to us? We aren't left to wonder. The Bible gives us sufficient information to understand what went wrong in Ephesus and how we can keep it from happening to us, as a church or as individuals.
Ephesians 6:19-20 Paul asks for prayer while in jail, but he doesn't request prayer for his freedom, his innocence to be proclaimed, or to get out so he can preach more. He prays for boldness. How can the greatest proclaimer of the Gospel who has ever lived need boldness? If he needs it, what about us? This talk considers the need for us to be bold in talking to others about Christ.
Ephesians 6:5-9 Many wrongly assume that we work hard at our jobs so that we can serve Christ with our extra time. Many believe that we work a job so we can support our families so that we can focus on spiritual issues outside of work. That type of thinking is not biblical and Paul refutes it in this passage. In this talk we will clearly realize that how we work is a spiritual issue, and when we work - no matter the job - it is serving Christ.
On 9/11, our nation had many shared emotions and thoughts. We still do. Yet, there are some thoughts and emotions that ought to be unique to devoted followers of Christ when it comes to pain, suffering, and evil. On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, David will give a message giving some theological perspectives on 9/11.
Hebrews 11:1,23-29 Have you ever felt that God is leading you to do something great for Him only to realize that no matter how hard you try, how much you want to do it, or how much you convince yourself - you simply can't?!?! You are not alone - some of the greatest characters of the Bible struggled with the exact same thing, often arguing directly with God about what he was asking them to do. Hebrews 11 gives us a great example of how to move from these moments of deep doubt to moments of great faith by keeping our focus on seeing the invisible.
Paul gives instructions to slaves and masters. And he never instructs them to overthrow slavery! Why not? Isn't slavery clearly against God's commands? What about Jesus? What was his view of politics solving issues of the day? And when we discover these answers, what implications does it have for us today?
Paul goes against the cultural influence in his day and tells fathers that they have responsibilities as a parent, and he gives one negative and one positive command. Parents need to focus on these first and foremost. Success in sports, education, and relationships are a distant goals to the two command that God gives to parents. This sermon talks applicationally about what these commands may look like in every day life.
Books on marriage emphasize marriage "tips" - communication tips, relational tips, sex tips, etc... When the Bible talks about marriage it emphasizes roles - what is a wife to do and what is a husband to do. The command to the wife is one of the most hated and misunderstood commands in the Bible. This week we will study what submission means and what it doesn't mean.
Paul emphasizes in the book of Ephesians that the Christian life is a walk. In this passage (5:1-14), Paul shares some of his harshest words for those who claim to know Christ but don't walk with him. Does Paul really mean what he says here? Or do we explain it away? How seriously do we take this passage?
We couldn't get through a day without habits. Habits are a gracious gift of a loving God. But habits can be used for good or evil. And coming to Christ (justification) doesn't mean that all of our habits are immediately changed (sanctification). We all must spend a lifetime growing in Christ: getting rid of bad habits and beginning good ones. Ephesians 4:25-30 provides us with a pattern for life change - through habits.
How can I change? Is there any hope for change? Why do I feel so trapped? These questions are common. Ephesians 4:17-24 gives hope and addresses answers as it tells us a detailed process of change. It applies to a drug addict and to someone trying to be more patient. For a Christian - the reality is that we have new hearts, and if we still have old habits - it will cause conflict in us. God gives us hope and a way out of those conflicts.
Ephesians 4:7-16 is one of three main passages that influence how we do church (Matthew 28 and Acts 2 are the others). And reading this passage carefully reveals several foundational truths about Church that are not universally held by those who attend. This message will challenge our assumptions about the role of Church and our role IN the Church.
In Ephesians 3:1, Paul begins a sentence that he himself interrupts (vv. 2-13). He doesn't take the thought back up until verse 14. So Ephesians 3:2-13 ends up being a excursion into Paul's mind about what excites him almost more than anything else. In getting inside Paul's mind, we can gain great appreciation for something we typically take for granted.
In every environment, there are always insiders and outsiders. At work, in families, in racial issues, in neighborhoods, on sports teams, on playgrounds, in colleges... and even in churches. We all have felt like outsiders at times.<br><br> The New Testament speaks more about the division between Jews and Gentiles than any other division. Yet because we are so far from the days of speaking of Jews and Gentiles, we don't understand how big that rift was. This passage talks about the mending of the most divisive human relationship in all of biblical history. And it has implications for our relationships and lives.
Every religious system has a viewpoint of how we interact with God's grace, how we get it and how we keep it. Every religious system also has a viewpoint of the future and how we can have the best future possible. This sermon will look at how Biblical Christianity is opposed to every other religious system on the issues of grace and eternal life.
In Ephesians 1:15-23, Paul offers a prayer for believers. Frankly, it sounds very little like prayers offered by most Christians today. We will study this prayer and learn to pray like Christmas really happened and like it really matters - that it is earth now and heaven later. How do we pray like Jesus wasn't just a baby in a manger, but the present ruler of the universe?
Ephesians 1:3-14 is a theologically packed paragraph with a wealth of applicational truths. Last week, we covered the first three: we are chosen, adopted, and forgiven. This sermon will explain why we are able to look at life so differently from others around us. It is because of God's limitless love for us.
Parenting a five year old and parenting a thirteen year old take different skills and mindsets. In this sermon we will be studying some parenting skills between the ages of 6 and 12. We would call those the transition years. This is a time of transitioning from parenting by authority to parenting by relational influence.
From the first day of the life of their child, a parent is to be preparing for the children to leave the house. They won't live at home forever; they shouldn't live at home forever. Even as young children, spiritual training is about preparing them to exit the home and live their lives for the glory of God. This week we will consider what that means for parents of young children.
In the first week of the series, we discovered that parents are the greatest threat to a child's spirituality. Today, we will talk about how parents are the greatest asset and hope for a child's spirituality. And we will talk about specific strategies and ideas parents can use to disciple their children.
This week begins a three-week series on parenting. The goal of the series is for parents to embrace two realities. First, children see through hypocrisy. Parents need to live and embrace the Gospel in their daily lives as the best hope for reaching their children. The second reality for parents to embrace is that their children's view of God will be seen more clearly through their relationship with their parents. These are truths that parents need to embrace and own.