“Working The Works Of God” (John 9 sermon)

You can definitely tell that it’s fall now — not only from the temperatures, but also from all the leaves that are falling. I spend a good deal of time Thursday afternoon gathering and burning over 11 wheelbarrows packed with leaves from our yard. And now today you can’t even tell that I did it!

I was telling Keith & Amanda & Jane about doing the leaves the other day and Keith & Amanda were telling me that when Keith gets out with his big “backpack leaf blower,” that Zeb also goes out with a little battery operated blower and “helps” dad with the leaves. That’s a sweet picture isn’t it? The son, helping in his father’s work.

Well as the children of God, it is one of our great privileges — and a calling for each of us — to help our Heavenly Father with His work here on earth too. In John 9 here Jesus said: “WE must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day.” When Jesus said “WE” there, that meant that His followers are also to be involved in His Father’s work, just like He Himself was. Let’s look together at this passage and see some things that help us as we “work the works of God”, our Heavenly Father: Continue reading

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“On The Road With Jesus” (John 4 sermon)

One of best ways to learn about someone is to spend some time on the road with them. I remember reading an article by the renowned actor, Charlton Heston (who played Moses in the classic 1956 movie “The Ten Commandments”). Heston was conservative politically, and was supporting Ronald Regan as he ran for office, so one time he went on the road with him. People had sometimes suggested to Heston that he follow in Reagan’s steps and run for office, but he said spending that time on the road with Reagan taught him a lot of lessons, among them being how HARD it is to be a candidate like that: how hard the travel is; how many meetings there are; and how many people to try to meet and keep happy. He said he could tell that Reagan just “fed” off of the people; he said the more he met, the happier he seemed to be, and the more energized. But Heston said all that would have killed him! So he learned some things about politics, and about himself, while “on the road” with Ronald Reagan.

This is one of the reasons why Jesus took His disciples “on the road” with Him: so that they could spend time with Him, and learn from Him. And they did learn amazing lessons that they would carry with them for the rest of their lives. You and I did not get that opportunity to personally walk with Jesus like they did, but through God’s word, we can “virtually” go “on the road” with Jesus and His disciples in their trip to Samaria in John 4, and as we do, there are a number of lessons we can learn from it: Continue reading

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“The Household of God” (I Timothy sermon)

In our “Discovering The Ridge” class for those who are joining our church, I often tell the story of the group in our home town which was starting a new church, and for some time they met in the home of one of their members. But one of the group’s little girls just couldn’t see it as a “church.” She said, “This is not a chu’ch. This is Twoy’s house!  A chu’ch doesn’t have a bedwoom; a chu’ch doesn’t have a couch!”  That little girl had made the classic error of mistaking the BUILDING that houses the church, for the reality of the church itself.  And many adults make that same mistake. The church is not a building. As Paul writes here, a church is “the household of God.”

More than anything else, this book of I Timothy is about The Church. There is much more here about the church than we can cover in one morning, but let’s look at some of the important things this great book teaches us about “The Household of God,” His church: Continue reading

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“The Faith That Pleases God” (Hebrews 11 sermon)

What kind of gift makes your spouse happy? That’s important to know, isn’t it? Because people vary so much in what pleases them. For example, some women might be delighted if you got them a certain kitchen appliance for Christmas or for their birthday — but there are others that if you got them a kitchen appliance as a gift you’d be in “the doghouse” for the foreseeable future! One of the keys to a good relationship is knowing what kind of gift pleases the one you love.

And this is true of our relationship with God as well. What pleases Him? That’s an important question. Since you are here at church, I assume that means you probably have at least some kind of desire to please God. So what pleases Him? We see it in this passage: Continue reading

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“Opportunities For The Gospel” (Colossians 4:2-6 sermon)

Well, most of the church has probably heard about it by now, but in case you haven’t: I had a missed opportunity at our church senior adult cookout last week. I showed up at 6:00 last Saturday night, which was all fine and good — except the cookout started at 4:00! Somehow I just had it in my mind that it started at 6:00.  I forget who it was who said, “Well Pastor Shawn, you not only qualify age-wise, you also qualify MENTALLY as a senior adult now!” Jan and Diane and the crew were very gracious and gave me a meal to take home — but I did miss the opportunity for fellowship with everyone.  

Maybe you’d say that you also had a missed opportunity last week: you missed a chance to go somewhere, or buy something, or do something. But one of the most important opportunities that any of us as Christians can miss, is an opportunity to share the Gospel with someone.  Here at the end of Book of Colossians, the Apostle Paul talks about how important these opportunities are: 

“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak. Conduct yourselves with wisdom towards outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Continue reading

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“The Gift That Is An Insult” (I Kings 9:10-14)

In “Henry V”, one of my very favorite plays or movies, Shakespeare tells of how when King Henry V of England was considering invading France, the French ambassador came to him with a “treasure,” saying that the Dauphin (or Prince of France) thought that this treasure would be more fit for him than invading their country. Henry asked his Duke of Exeter to examine the box and see what the treasure was. He peered in and reported: “Tennis balls, my liege.” Of course it was an insult: the Dauphin was implying that Henry was more fit for playing tennis than he was for warfare. It was an ancient form of “trash talking,” and that was a “gift” that was in actuality an insult. 

Many gifts are actually insults like that — and so was the “gift” we read about in I Kings 9 this morning, that Solomon gave to Hiram. I want us to see that this is more than just an inside look into the relationship between two kings, but is a challenge for us in the way we serve our God as well.  Continue reading

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“Where’s Your Glory?” (Jeremiah 9:23-24 sermon)

Sunday morning came to our church in Southwest Louisiana, and the crowd was exuberant. Purple and gold clothing was everywhere. People were cheerful and talking in the hallways. A festive air just covered the whole place. LSU had won their football game in Baton Rouge the night before!  And some of them had actually been there — and everyone was happy.    A few weeks later, it’s Sunday morning again. But this time, a darkness just draped over the church like a shroud. People dragged in, sat slumped in their seats, and listened to the sermon with glazed eyes. For late that Saturday night, LSU had lost to “Nick Satan” and Alabama. Again.

It’s football season, and the lives of many people hang very much upon the success of their football teams. They wear their team’s colors on game day; they get excited when they win, and bask in the glories for a day or two — and get really depressed when they lose. In a very real sense, it can be said that they “glory” in their team. (Some of us here in North Carolina may identify more with basketball than football, but you get the idea!) 

But that sense of “glorying” in something is very much at the heart of Jeremiah 9 when it says, “let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches, but let him boasts, boast of this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD …”.

The word “boast” in this verse is the Hebrew word “halal,” we get our word “Hallelujah” from it. It means “to praise, to glory, to boast” in something — like people do their favorite sports team. What you praise or glory in says a lot about what’s really important in your life. And God has a word for us here in these verses about what we SHOULD and should NOT boast or glory in:  Continue reading

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