PHOTO ILLUSTRATION – The place where I sometimes work out has an indoor rock climbing wall that may be 40-50 feet tall. Sometimes I’ll stop and watch the climbers as they move up the sheer face of the rock wall, clinging to and or getting a foothold on little outcroppings as they make their way to the top. Obviously, the higher they go the greater the risk if they lose their grip or footing. Inevitably there will come a point in the climb where, if they are going to keep going higher, they will need to take the risk of lunging for an outcropping that is just out of their reach. But, if you’ve ever watched indoor rock climbing, you know that they usually have a safety system that includes a harness that is connected to a rope that is secured through a carabineer in the ceiling to a person called a belayer on the ground. The climber is freed to take risks way up the wall because they know they are secured by a rope to the belayer below. If they lose their grip, they’ve entrusted themselves to another for their safety. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Sermon Manuscripts’ Category
ILLUSTRATION – A few months ago I was looking at my next door neighbors, Butch and Sandra Gautier’s, yard and noticed how green it was. I looked at my yard and wondered why it seemed to be struggling. Maybe you’ve heard the old proverb that says, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” In the harsh winter we had a couple of years ago I lost a big part of the grass. The ice sat on top of the grass for a couple of weeks and it just froze it out. Last summer I tried to coax it back, but it just never seemed to recover. The guy who helps with my yard told me that there were several problems. One was the trees had grown up so thick so that there was no sunlight getting through to the grass. The trees needed to be pruned. The ground had become so hard that the roots had a hard time catching on. The ground needed to be tilled up and some better soil brought in. Then some new sod could be laid in the places to jump start the yard. And finally, I needed to keep it well-watered so the roots could take hold. The more I heard the more depressed I got. It sounded too much like hard work to me. (more…)
ILLUSTRATION – When we lived in New Mexico our children were little and we lived in a home that we liked a lot with one exception. We could never get rid of the mice. No matter how many traps I set I could never conquer the little rascals. One evening we had some guests over to our house and as we sat in the den a mouse ran over the foot of one of our guests, stopped and looked around at us and kept on running. You can imagine that this made things quite interesting with a wife and two daughters. One day I was playing golf with some buddies and I happened to be on a tee box next to the parking lot when I noticed Nan’s car drive up. Nan jumped out of the car and said, “I’ve had enough of the mice. They’re running around like they own the place. I’m taking the kids to Vera’s house (Vera and Sonny were like grandparents to our kids), and we’ll come home when you get rid of the mice.” (more…)
The Book of James says that we are not to merely listen to the word. We need to do what it says. The Bible is like a spiritual mirror that helps us see ourselves the way we should. If we listen to the Word but do not do what it says James says we’re like a person who looks at themselves in a mirror and sees something that needs to be changed, but then goes on their way without correcting it. Soon he or she forgets what they look like. However if we continually look into the mirror of the Word of God and don’t forget what we see there but actually act on it we will receive a blessing.
My desire in this series of messages called “Home/Hope” is to help us hold up the Word of God as a mirror for our lives and for our marriages and parenting. We have to live our lives in alignment with what we see in that wonderful mirror of God’s Word. All of God’s Word applies to our homes, not just the passages that specifically mention marriage or parenting. (more…)
The only power that can overcome a million weaknesses and hurts in our homes … the only hope we have of forgiving and being forgiven … is in the love of God through the Cross of Jesus Christ. That’s the thread that will run through a new series I’m beginning today entitled “Home/Hope.” Open your Bibles to Genesis 1. While you’re turning, men I want to encourage you to pick up your ticket for the Men’s Steak Night on April 30. Our speaker Dr. Bob Reccord has spoken to men’s groups all over the nation. You will be challenged and helped. Make this investment in your skills as a husband and as a dad.
Today along with the Scripture I’m going to use a diagram that we have used before, but with a different application. (more…)
ILLUSTRATION – This coming Wednesday is our wedding anniversary. Nan and I will be married 38 years. We actually got married Good Friday of Easter weekend so we could have an extra day of vacation for our honeymoon. At the time I was serving as a youth minister in a church and there was a kid in our youth group whose father owned a funeral home. I was a poor college student and couldn’t afford a limousine to whisk us away after the wedding so I ask this kid if his dad would loan us the funeral coach for our wedding. They agreed. Have you ever planned to do something and when it actually came time to do it you thought, “What was I thinking? At the time this seemed like a good idea, but now I’m not so sure.” Well we ran out of the church building with our loved ones and friends showering us with rice and started our exciting new journey together as husband and wife … in a funeral coach. I’ve often wondered if people caught the irony of that moment. A funeral coach is really out of place at a wedding. And on the first Easter morning some women went to the tomb of Jesus and found some things that were out of place. (more…)
ILLUSTRATION – One of the most important works of art in history is Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” Around the year 1500 da Vinci painted this on the wall of a convent in Milan, Italy. It represents Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples as they observed the Passover on the night before He was crucified. I’ve always thought it was unusual that da Vinci depicted them like they were sitting at a dining room table in someone’s Italian villa. Of course, the setting of Jesus’ last supper with His disciples in observance of the Passover was in a borrowed room where they sat (reclined) maybe on cushions around a low table. Matthew in his Gospel tells us…
Matthew 26:17 – On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
Again, this is the night that Jesus was betrayed and arrested. (more…)
Today we’re celebrating the second anniversary of the opening of our church’s free medical clinic called the Mercy Clinic. Our motivation for showing mercy is the mercy that God has shown to us in the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross of Calvary for our sins. Open your Bibles to Exodus 12. We’re going spend the next three Sundays reflecting back on the amazing thing God did for us in the death and resurrection of His Son. But long before that God gave another powerful demonstration of His mercy; this time it was just for His chosen people, the nation of Israel. It is called the Passover and it happened after Israel had been in slavery in Egypt for hundreds of years. These are the people of God and He will set them on a journey to possess the Promised Land. But first they must be delivered. God will judge their captors, the Egyptians, with a series of plagues, the last of which is more grave than we might could comprehend … the death of the firstborn sons throughout the land. But Israel will be spared because they will be covered with God’s special protection. This week and next week we will look through the lens of this historic event, the Passover, in order to better understand that greatest event in history … the death and resurrection of Jesus. Read Exodus 12:1-13. (more…)
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION – The internet and social media lit up a couple of weeks ago over a picture of this dress. The controversy revolves around the colors of this dress. What colors do you see? I see white and gold, but many people see blue and black. Well, as it turns out the color of the dress changes with the perspective. If you look at it from one angle it is white and gold. If you look at it from another angle it is appears blue and black.
When it comes to the message of the Gospel, what you see depends on your perspective. Those who first heard the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and received it by faith were transformed. But there were others who heard the message of the Gospel from a different perspective. They saw it as a threat to their religious traditions and they became angry. This is the mob that our friend Stephen encountered in Acts 6-7. (more…)
We’ve moved from focusing on our church being a HOUSE OF PRAYER to our families becoming HOMES OF PRAYER. And this month we take it a step deeper to our lives becoming HEARTS OF PRAYER. Easter is a little over a month away and we’ve prepared a “Walk to the Empty Tomb,” a 30-day personal prayer experience. It will be up on our website. Or follow me on Facebook and Twitter to get the daily guide which will start on March 7. We have a great opportunity to share the Gospel with our city in the next month leading up to Easter. Let’s have our hearts ready. (more…)