Paul's Passion

Sermon Text: Galatians 1:1-21

Today we are beginning a new sermon series called “What’s in Galatians?” which will be a study of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia. One of the reasons for preaching through this book at this time is because we are in the season of Pentecost, and it was after Pentecost that the gospel began to spread beyond Jerusalem into places like the province of Galatia and the non-Jewish people living in those places accepted the truth of the gospel and became part of the new and growing Jesus-community. So, I liked the idea of preaching during Pentecost from a letter that Paul wrote to people who were part of the expanding new church, and in this letter, we get some insight into some of the growing pains that the new church experienced. A second reason for preaching “What’s in Galatians?” is because what’s in Galatians is good news- a lot of good news- and not only do I like preaching good news, but it is to our benefit as Christians to know and understand the good news that this letter contains. In this series we are going to go through all 6 chapters of the letter- not verse by verse, but we will get the picture of the book overall and we’ll look at the key ideas and some key passages that are in Galatians. As we go through this over the next 5 weeks, I invite you to take some time with the book on your own, too. We won’t read every verse here in worship, but you can follow along and read through the whole book at home in whatever fashion works for you- maybe read through it once a week on Sunday evening, or read a chapter a day, or read a chapter a week. It’s a short book so I think you’ll find that reading through it is not an impossible challenge, and with that said, let’s get started on finding out what’s in GalatiansSee full sermon here

The Perfect Dad

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: Luke 15: 18-24

One of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid was Happy Days. It used to be on Sunday afternoon, which was also the day the kids on my street played football. I vividly remember us all stopping the game at 2pm and running home to watch Happy Days and then ½ an hour later resuming the game. Of course, like every other kid back then I loved The Fonz. He was not only the coolest guy on the show, he was the coolest guy on the planet. Or was he? There was one other person on that show that I thought was great, and that was Howard Cunningham or Mr. C as The Fonz called him. The middle-aged dad. Mr. C. always seemed to get it right. He had the wisdom, the humor, the advice, he almost always solved everyone’s problems, and always had the respect. Even the Fonz listened to and respected him. And when Happy Days finally ended after 11 seasons, it wasn’t Richie or even The Fonz that had the final farewell monologue, it was Mr. C. I remember thinking it would be cool if he was my dad. Because he was the perfect dad. If only all dads could be like Mr. C. Of course, Mr. C. was not even like Mr. C. I saw an interview with Tom Bosley who played Howard Cunningham. He was asked how he felt playing America’s favorite father. His response was it was wonderful because he had great scriptwriters, the problems started when he went home and had to adlib being a real dad. He had as little clue as everyone else.

Father’s Day is a day of great celebration for manySee full sermon here

VBS Sunday - Life is Wild, God is Good

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: Nahum 1:7

Today we have two things converging that make this kind of a special Sunday. The first is that it is Pentecost Sunday. I love Pentecost because I love the Holy Spirit, and I love talking about Jesus, and I love the church, and Pentecost Sunday is the day we remember how the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples and they proclaimed the news about Jesus’s life, and death, and resurrection and the church was born when thousands of people responded to their message with repentance and faith. I’m not going to read the whole story this morning, but here are a couple highlights. “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” After this Peter stood up and preached to the crowd and at the end of his sermon Luke tells us that they were “cut to the heart” and asked what to do. Peter told them, “’Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off- for all whom the Lord our God will call.’ With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” It’s such an exciting story and you can read the whole thing in Acts 2. The second thing that is special about today is that we are celebrating the completion of another wonderful week of Vacation Bible SchoolSee full sermon here

Alive in Christ - United

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: John 17:20-26

According to the church calendar, we have reached the final Sunday of Easter which means we have also reached the final message in our Alive in Christ sermon series. The goal has been to think about how our lives really are different because of Jesus’s resurrection than they would be otherwise if we remained dead in our sins. The new life is marked by all kinds of things that we’ve talked about – a mission, freedom from our past, a secure future, our personal transformation, and a relationship with Jesus in the person of the Holy Spirit. Today we are looking at one final thing that we receive when we are raised to a new life with Christ, and that is our spiritual family. When we are joined to Christ through faith, we aren’t just joined to Jesus. We’re also joined to all of the other people that are part of him, too.

Being part of God’s family can feel like one of the biggest blessings in our lives, but sometimes it can also leave us feeling like Kevin McCallister feels at the beginning of the movie Home Alone. The house is full with his brother, and sister, and parents, and aunts, and uncles, and cousins, and after being picked on, and overlooked by, and in trouble with his family he’s fed up and he shouts, “When I grow up and get married, I’m living alone!”See full sermon here

Alive in Christ - Spirit Filled

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: John 14:23-29

I wonder if anyone here remembers that last time that you got a personal letter. I have gotten some nice cards with short messages on them in recent weeks, and those little cards are always a welcome interruption in the steady stream of junk mail, but I don’t know for sure when I last got a real handwritten, multi-page letter that contained news or a story about a friend’s life or their thoughts on some subject that they wanted to share about. I’m thinking it was probably sometime in the early 2000’s while I was in seminary in CA. I know for sure that I wrote and received lots of letters during the years between Jr. high and the year after my graduation from college, but in the early 2000’s when email was big and cell phones were becoming even bigger, my letter writing and receiving days began to drop off drastically and I’m sure your experience is similar…See full sermon here

Alive in Christ - Changed

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: John 13:31-35

I couldn’t believe it this week when I realized that today would already be the 5th week of Easter, but it is, and we’re continuing today and for 2 more weeks with our Easter season sermon series, Alive in Christ. In this series we’re thinking about how our lives are affected by Jesus’s resurrection- not just in the future when we go to heaven, but now. As a quick review we’ve said that when we are alive in Christ we are sent. We are raised with him to a life meant to be lived on mission. We have said we are free- free from anything in our past that would disqualify us from being included with or used by Jesus. We have said we are secure. When we are united with Christ in his death and resurrection through faith, nothing can break that union and we can be confident in our salvation because God is faithful. That brings us to this week, and I have to tell you that I had a difficult time coming up with a one-word title that would describe the aspect of Easter life that we’ll see in the Scriptures this morning. I went with “changed,” and it is a good word to describe what happens in our lives when Jesus comes into them, yet it’s also true that even as we are changed right away- becoming new creations as Paul says- we also begin a process of changing that is ongoing…See full sermon here

Alive in Christ - Secure

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: John 10: 22-30

“The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is to the effect that they whom God has regenerated and effectually called to a state of grace, can neither totally nor finally fall away from that state but shall certainly persevere therein to the end and be eternally saved.”

That quote is from Berkof’s Systematic Theology, a staple from my Bible College days, to introduce that particular doctrine that our eternal salvation is secure and guaranteed. It is also perhaps the least exciting and attention-grabbing beginning to a sermon I have ever had!

It is so not exciting that I am going to read it again for you. Because it really is great news, and really quite exciting. “The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints is to the effect that they whom God has regenerated and effectually called to a state of grace, can neither totally nor finally fall away from that state but shall certainly persevere therein to the end and be eternally saved.”…See full sermon here

Alive in Christ - Sent

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: John 20:19-23

If you missed Easter Sunday here last week, you missed a great Easter Sunday service. You’re going to have to wait a whole other year for the next Easter Sunday, but if you did miss church last week, the good news is that Easter joy, and Easter hope, and Easter life are realities that we can experience every day of the year. The resurrection is the event that validates our Christian faith. It is the anchor of our hope, and it is the basis for the claim that in Christ we have been raised to new life through faith- a new life we live every day. It’s great to be alive with Christ and to know that we are alive with him, but it does beg the question, what does that really mean? We skimmed the surface of an answer to that question last week, but there is a lot that can be said so for the rest of the Easter season that’s what we’re going to be looking at in this sermon series, Alive with Christ, and we’re going to start today with this. To be alive with Christ means we are sentsee full sermon here

Are We Risen Indeed?

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Romans 6:1-11

Jesus has risen from the dead! On Friday the Light of the World was extinguished, but today that light has been reignited like one of those magic birthday candles and it will never be extinguished again. This is the good news that we celebrate today with Christians all over the world. Now for some people, the question of the day is, did the resurrection really even happen? Is it just a story with no real historical, factual basis, because that certainly seems to be most likely given the normal laws of nature and science? People don’t come back to life from the grave. It’s impossible. If that is the question that’s on your mind today, I encourage you to pursue it. We aren’t going to pursue that particular question here this morning, but there are some helpful resources that examine the evidence of the empty tomb and show that there are good reasons to believe that the testimony that we find in Scripture is reliable and true. The Case for Easter by investigative journalist Lee Stroble is one example. Here this morning, though, I want to speak to the question that was raised in the drama that we just saw. This is a group of people who, like most of us, claim to believe that the resurrection is a historical fact. We heard the chaplain say, “He is alive!” and everyone agreed, “He is alive indeed,” but then Steve became thoughtful and asked, “what about us?” That is a good Easter question for those who say they believe….See full sermon here