Sunday Preview for June 24

Any number of unpleasant things can befall us in this world – sickness and disability, fires, car accidents, untimely deaths. To protect ourselves and our families from the consequences of these events, we connect ourselves to insurance companies. We pay them a small amount each month, and when something bad happens, they pay us what we need to cover costs and move on. Our passage this Sunday, 1 John 5:18-21, shows us how being connected to Jesus protects us from threats we face in this fallen world. However, being connected to Jesus is unlike being connected to an insurance company. […]

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Sunday Preview for May 20, 2018

This Sunday’s passage, 1 John 4:7-12, tells us that “God is love.”  Note that it doesn’t say that “love is God,” which would mean that our feelings were divine, or at least defined what God was like.  The order is important.  God is a person, not an emotion, and God – who he is and what he does – defines what true love really is.  The God who is love binds himself to people, teaches them how to live, sacrifices himself for them, and calls them to do the same for others. Come to worship this Sunday and meet with the God who is […]

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Questions to Consider: Cultivating Discernment (Part 2)

A day later than promised, but a second set of questions to consider from last Sunday’s passage, 1 John 4:1-6.  The first set dealt with the full divinity of Jesus and how to discern whether we were living in light of it.  This set deals with the full humanity of Jesus.  False prophets deny or diminish one or the other of Jesus’ natures – the divine and the human.  Both must be believed and trusted if we are to experience the fullness of the Father’s love. Jesus dealt with all of the limitations and weaknesses that we humans face.  He got tired and hungry.  He […]

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Questions to Consider: Developing Discernment (Part 1)

In Sunday’s message, the Apostle John challenged us to cultivate the gift of discernment.  False prophets and false teachings had arisen in the congregation that John served.  Under such circumstances, the duty to grow in discernment fell upon the whole church, not just those particularly gifted or interested in the issues.  Our time is no different. The quote to the left from Charles Spurgeon beautifully explains the task of discernment – to distinguish between what is right and what is “almost right.”  Sometimes “almost right” is acceptable, but not when it comes to one’s view of Jesus.  An “almost divine” […]

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Sermon Summary for May 13, 2018

Sunday’s sermon, “Lies About Jesus,” was based on 1 John 4:1-6.  Unfortunately, the sermon was not recorded, but you can read a summary of the message below.  On Wednesday and Thursday I will post some questions for further reflection. SUMMARY In the passage, the Apostle John deals with the problem of “fake news” in his day – false prophets and false teachings.  False prophets arise periodically from within the church.  They teach both formally (words and ideas) and informally (behavior and examples).  Their teaching is flawed because it does not embrace the whole truth about Jesus – that he is the fullness […]

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Sunday Preview for April 22, 2018 – Learning Discernment

Numerous theories surround the person Scripture refers to as “the antichrist.” While they differ widely, many of them hold this basic  assumption: the antichrist will be somebody famous. Search online for pictures of the antichrist and you will find a gallery of powerful and charismatic people: world leaders like Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and Vladimir Putin; tech giants like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg; religious leaders like Pope Francis and Billy Graham.  It seems that, if you want to spot the antichrist, you just need to check and see who’s on the cover of Time. If only it were […]

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A Simple Life – Sunday Summary for April 15, 2018

On Sunday I preached from 1 John 2:12-17.  The first part of the passage (12-14) describes the security that all Christians possess.  The second part (15-17) calls every Christian to reject “the world” and to live a life of simplicity.  You can listen to the sermon here, or keep reading for a summary of the content and a key application. Security John describes our security by referring to us as “children, fathers, and young men” who share certain blessings.  We are all “children” who have been forgiven and adopted into God’s family; we are all “fathers” with the exalted status […]

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