Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Worship: One Purpose of the Church

When we think of worship, we tend to think of singing although worship is exalting God through any activity.  In the sermon we examined what the Bible says about believers singing to God.  We also waded deeply into the "Worship Wars" that have plagued many churches to show the difference between biblical mandate verses personal preference.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Advent Season of Christmas

We're getting ready for Advent Season which begins November 30th in 2014. We light the first Advent wreath candle Sunday morning, "The Candle of Hope." (BTW, the word "advent" means the anticipated arrival of a special person. In this case, we eagerly anticipate the past arrival of Christ's birth in Bethlehem, the City of David, which we commemorate each year on December 25th.) 

There will be a Second Advent, a Second Coming, when Christ arrives abruptly for the Day of Resurrection and Judgment to end our human/universal timeline as we know it currently and usher in heaven/hell for all. This present universe will be destroyed/renewed with fire for the Present Age must give way to the Age to Come in which sin will be banished and righteousness will reign.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Getting the Apocalypse Right

I've noticed a big increase in pop culture with the word "apocalypse" to describe worldwide destruction. Technically speaking, apocalypse is an English transliteration of the Greek ἀποκάλυψις which means "unveiling." It is translated in our English Bibles as "revelation." 

In the last book of the New Testament it is the unveiling of Christ as Lord in the midst of the unveiling of events occurring to the seven churches in first century Asia Minor and a look to the future when, in the words of Paul, faith becomes sight.

So, apocalypse in the biblical sense doesn't mean an "end of the world" scenario.  It is the revelation of Christ in the midst of things that have already come and things still yet in the future of God's salvation history.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Ministry: One Purpose of the Church

In the New Testament "minister" means "servant."  There is no division between clergy and laity in the case of ministry because every Christian is a minister who does acts of service.  We examined the biblical evidence on this important purpose of the Church.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Peanuts | Official Trailer [HD] | FOX Family

I've said it before and I'll say it again: if they mess up the movie this world will be dead to me, Man.  Dead.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Prayer: One Purpose of the Church

A prayerless church probably will be a powerless church.  Each Christian and congregation must seek the face of God for his presence, power, provision and peace.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fellowship: One Purpose of the Church

Is your church "safe"? Do the members feel they can confess their sins, hurts and limitations to others in the congregation and know it won't be gossiped around but prayed about and cared for? Do hurting Christians receive love, mercy and grace at your church?

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Five Dollar Blessing

This past Sunday my mother attended morning worship with me at my new pastorate, First Church of God.  I found out that she was going to put five dollars in the offering plate; I told her she didn't need to do so and reminded her that the church website asks first-time visitors not to give money.  Mom followed my direction and held on to the five dollar bill.

Today she called me excitedly, needing to share an experience that happened yesterday.  My parents were at a fast food restaurant where they saw an older employee cleaning.  She was happy and friendly to the guests.  Dad felt the desire to tip her.  He asked Mom if she had five dollars and she did—the very bill that she was going to put in the offering plate at First Church.  Dad walked up to the worker who was then seated for a meal.  He asked if workers were allowed to receive tips.  The lady seemed surprised and told him she didn't know.  Dad discretely took the $5 and placed it on the table with his hand over it.  After he removed his hand she placed her hand on top of the money.

Dad and Mom saw her begin crying over the money.  They were amazed when, as they were leaving, she hugged them both and told them her story.  She wasn't going to get paid until Friday (today) and she didn't have enough money to ride the bus to work.  It was on her mind.  How was she going to pay?  Dad followed a desire and unwittingly paid her fare...and then some.

A five dollar blessing?  Well, numerically it was but I have a feeling it was of much more worth to the worker than five hundred pennies.

God is good...all the time.  

Monday, November 3, 2014

Discipleship: One Purpose of the Church

This is the second sermon in The Mission & Purposes of the Church series. How does a local congregation fulfill her part of the Great Commission? Dr. Luke gave us the answer by his description of the early Church after Pentecost in Acts 2.42-47. In this message we examine what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Mission of the Church

This is the inaugural message in the series The Mission & Purposes of the Church. What is the Church's mission? What ramifications follow?