Archive for February, 2013
Well this has been an extraordinary week of ministry for our church. Last Thursday night we had the Men’s Wild Game Dinner. We had nearly 400 men present, and almost half of them were guests. And when the Gospel was shared we had 16 men indicate that they had prayed to receive Christ. This morning at 5:30am our church led out in the Cowtown Marathon pre-race worship service and we had hundreds show up for that. Now ladies, it’s your turn to INVITE. The Ladies Brunch with Mary Jo Sharp is next Saturday. Come and enjoy the fellowship and bring a friend. Today is the last day to get tickets in the Welcome Center.
As a pastor I know that many of you come to church each week beaten up by the world you live in the other six days a week, and you need encouragement and comfort. And my spiritual gifts make me want to give that encouragement and comfort. However, I’m aware that the greatest peril you may be in today is not that you work for a cranky boss, or that you live with an insensitive spouse, or that you can’t pay your bills. Instead, the greater peril is that you or I might have come to a place in our lives where we have grown calloused towards God … living with huge pockets of disobedience in our lives … pretending to be one thing, but we’re really not what others think we are. And the greatest need when we get into that condition is not to be comforted, but to be confronted. Jesus is gracious and merciful to get all up in our spiritual business as He did one day with some people in Jerusalem. Turn to Luke 13. Jesus often used something called “parables” or life stories to illustrate the message of truth He was communicating. We’re looking at some of the life stories of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. Read Luke 13:1-9.
Two words summarize what Jesus is teaching in this passage: “Repent … Now!” (more…)
Open your Bibles to Luke 12:13. I’m so excited about how God has moved among our students this weekend. Students, you have spent the weekend focused on the fact that God desires to work through you. Now, we’re sitting at the feet of Jesus in the Gospels and learning from some of the parables or life stories that He told. Read vv.13-15.
Jesus talked about money and possessions as much as He talks about any other issue. He never shied away from challenging people about the use of their possessions and the prosperity. You see money can be either hazardous or helpful to us. It can either diminish our soul or develop it. And that’s true whether we are an adult with a huge stock portfolio or a student with the little money that you get for an allowance or a part-time job.
Money is important because we trade it for what we value … what we think is important. So our money moves with our heart. And so what you do with your money is actually a picture of your heart. And that’s what Jesus means when He says later…
Luke 12:34 – For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (more…)
“The Bible is full of contradictions.”
“The Bible is just a collection of myths written by people long ago.”
“The Bible can’t claim to be a factual source of historical people and events.”
Have you ever heard someone make statements like these? Perhaps in moments of doubt you have entertained the same questions yourself. Through the years I have talked with people who challenge the authenticity and authority of the Bible. Some just want to argue; others are genuinely seeking to know the truth about the claims of the Bible.
As I think about the attacks that have been hurled at the Bible through the ages I stand today with great confidence in the reliability of the Bible as the source of truth from God. Here are just a few of the reasons I come to this conclusion:
- From a purely literary perspective the Bible stands in a class by itself in terms of beauty, wisdom, complexity and design. There are sixty-six books written by forty different authors over a span of 1500 years, yet God’s Word displays a supernatural unity from start to finish.
- The New Testament Gospels are historical accounts by people who either were personally present or who consulted with eye witness of the life and ministry of Jesus.
- The mountains of archeological evidence continue to verify the historical accuracy of details contained in the Bible.
- Hundreds of years before the coming of Christ very specific prophecies were given about virtually every aspect of His life and ministry. Against impossible odds those prophecies were fulfilled with amazing accuracy.
- If the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection were not true, the people of the day would have known it and would have laughed the story off as fiction. But that wasn’t the case. No one could step forward to refute the claims of the Gospels. Instead the church exploded with growth because of the truth of the facts.
- There is an abundance of extra-biblical corroboration for the key and basic facts contained in the Gospel. Ancient secular historians provide independent historical confirmation of biblical material.
These certainties give us great confidence in the Bible. As a believer, however, I am most encouraged by the very claims that the Bible makes about itself … claims to its authenticity and accuracy. Consider just a few:
“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 18:30).
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21).
A perfect God could never give us an imperfect revelation of Himself. The One True God would never reveal Himself in a way that was in any way false. Almighty God, supernatural in all He is and does, has given to us a supernatural book called the Bible. Stand confidently in your convictions about your reliable Bible.
The word “parable” means “to set alongside.” And Jesus would set these stories alongside a specific truth He wanted to communicate to His followers or to others who were listening to Him. And in this series of messages we’re looking at some of the life stories of Jesus recorded by Luke in his Gospel account. Open your Bibles to Luke 11. As you’re turning I want to remind you that on Sunday evenings our A2C groups meet. This is a small group experience designed to build on what happens on Sunday mornings, and to develop Christ-centered relationships. See your SMBS leaders for more information.
But as I watched that story unfold last week I couldn’t help but think how easy it is for us in the Christian life to give the impression that we are doing what we are doing from the heart, when really we’re just spiritually lip-syncing. The song of our life that we “sing” before others (our witness and our worship) isn’t live; it isn’t real … we’re just pretending it is. And in times like that the Lord comes to challenge His people to live authentic lives before Him and before others.
Now what I have just done is to use a teaching tool that Jesus often used. Isn’t it great how stories like that can make truth come alive for us? Well along with being the Savior of the world, Jesus was a powerful teacher. And in that He often told great stories called “parables.” This morning I’m beginning an eight-week series on “The Life Stories of Jesus.” And to get started let’s turn to Luke 5:36. There are scores of life stories that Jesus told recorded for us in the Gospels. Some are lengthy; some are as short as a sentence. I’ve chosen eight parables from the Gospel of Luke. While the other Gospel writers were Jewish, Luke was a Gentile. He was a physician and his Gospel reflects a very orderly and systematic collection of details related to the life and teachings of Jesus. To get started just look at Luke 5:36.
Let’s open our Bibles to Lamentations 3:19. You’ll find it right after the book of Jeremiah in the OT. And as you’re turning I want to encourage you to plan to be part of our ministry team rally tonight. You’ll have an opportunity to learn about places to serve God and others here in our church. Details are in your worship folder. Before I read the text you need to know that Lamentations is a sad book, thus the name Lamentations. It is written by the prophet Jeremiah as he has watched the horrible destruction of his beloved city of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Along with the destruction there was starvation and the loss of life. All this is due to Judah’s obstinate rebellion against the Lord over the years. So Jeremiah pours out his broken heart … he laments … on the pages of this short book. And yet out of this dark moment comes one of the most amazing confessions of faith in the entire Bible. Read Lamentations 3:19-25. (more…)