A Time of Challenge

Sermon Audio

Sermon Text: Mark 1:12-13 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, 16-18

During Lent, as we are remembering Jesus’s 40 days in the wilderness, we are also thinking about the wilderness times that we experience in life and as part of our spiritual journeys. I was talking about this sermon series with a friend that we were visiting with on Thursday and Friday, and she asked me, “what’s a wilderness time?” which made me think I should be sure everyone knows what I mean by that. When I’m talking about wilderness times, I mean those times when we’re dealing with difficulties or challenges that make us feel unsure of everything we thought we were sure of; those times when we have more questions than answers; those times when we may feel lonely and isolated; the times when God seems distant and the devil feels near; it could even be a time when we endure some kind of persecution. Sometimes it’s some event, like a divorce, or a death, or a diagnosis that sends us into the wilderness, and sometimes it’s more like a fog that just seems to descend and settle around us for a season. Like the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness, these aren’t easy times, but we can have hope because God can and God does work, even in wilderness times, to accomplish His purposes in our lives. With that in mind, in this sermon series, we are thinking about what else wilderness time is- apart from just being difficult- and last week we thought about how wilderness time is a time for learning. Today, I want to talk about how it is a time of challenge…See full sermon here

In the Light

Sermon Text: Matthew 17:1-9

Most of you know, I like to tell stories. I may have told these two before. I hope not. 
I remember a youth-lock in many years ago, when after the games and food and movies and all the other great stuff that happens at a lock-in, we had our evening devotion. It turned out to be a particularly moving time; it was one of those times when it seemed God was walking through the room. At the end, we stood in a circle to pray, and, as we prayed, I had the urge to sing a worship song. Now, anyone who has heard me sing knows this could end up in a bad way! The song, I Love You, Lord, and I Lift My Voice, was running through my head. It did not end up coming out of my lips, however. I kept thinking things like, “these kids don’t sing,” “they will think this is stupid,” or “I will end up singing by myself and looking weird.” After a few minutes of silence and my fighting the urge I felt inside to sing, I decided not to do it. The silence continued for a moment, Then one of our youth, who was unbelievably a worse singer than I and more of an introvert and the last guy in the group who you would imagine would do such a thing, started singing. I heard the words, “I Love You Lord, and I Lift My Voice,” coming from his lips. The whole group started singing, and it went on for a while as the kids experienced a moment of fellowship that was very special. After it was over, hugs and tears were shared. I watched all of this going on, feeling blessed to be part of it. This does not happen every day in youth ministry! It was almost as if I could hear God saying, “Brian, if you won’t follow me, I’ll find someone who will.” It was a very humbling moment, and I shared it with the group later and thanked Mark, who sang, for actually listening and responding to the Spirit’s prompting. What a moment, what a lesson.
Read full sermon here (PDF)