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…)
Archive for the ‘Sermon Manuscripts’ Category
Open your Bibles to Acts 6:1. Tonight is our Evening of Prayer and Praise where our church gets down to serious praying and we want to pray for you. Later in our worship time you’ll have an opportunity to share prayer requests with us. So if you have a need write it on the prayer card in your worship folder and put in the offering basket later. Also let me remind you that this Wednesday evening is our church conference where we present our budget for 2015-16. We invite you to come to hear the presentation and participate in the discussion. We’ll adopt the budget on March 8 in our morning worship services. Read Acts 6:1-7.
ILLUSTRATION – When I was in college I was a youth pastor at a church in the day when everyone wore coats and ties (at least the men did). I got up late one Sunday morning and didn’t have a clean dress shirt so I grabbed one out of the dirty clothes. It was all wrinkled so I quickly ironed the collar and the cuffs, thinking that was the only part anyone would see. It was so stinking hot that day that I wanted to take my coat off by I couldn’t because I didn’t want anyone to see my wrinkled shirt. (more…)
ILLUSTRATION – In my message last Sunday I shared some statistics about how the church around the world is growing. One of the statistics I gave from Meyer’s book Witness Essentials was that there were more followers of Jesus in China than there are members of the Communist Party. Last Sunday afternoon I was reading Nik Ripken’s book The Insanity of Obedience. Ripken has been all over the world researching persecution of the church in various nations. He tells the story of speaking to a training meeting with some believers in China. As part of his presentation he talked about the tremendous harvest that is happening in China. Afterwards one of the leaders present asked Nik to have a meal with him. At their meal the Chinese leader gently challenged the numbers that Nik had given when he talked about the tremendous harvest of souls in China. The Chinese leader said that about two-thirds of the number that Nik mentioned were members, but only about one-third would be considered true followers of Jesus. Nik was puzzled by the discrepancy. The Chinese leader said that members attend a house church. Most of them have been baptized and even contribute financially to the work of the church. Then the Chinese leader said, “But we do not consider church members to be true followers of Jesus until they have led other people to Christ and have helped to plant more churches.” (more…)
I want you to see this morning that we are a small part of something amazingly huge. We are a humble part of a movement that cannot fail … a movement that is marching along through history, impacting people in nations all over the world, and that will one day fill the whole universe as the Kingdom of God. You see, two thousand years ago Jesus said…
Matthew 16:18b – I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
It’s His church. And the gates of hell will not be able to withstand it. We’re unstoppable! But in spite of what Jesus said, the fact is that we often think we’re losing the battle, don’t we. Let’s be honest. We see evil triumphing and godlessness expanding, and we think we’re part of something that is failing. (more…)
Let’s open our Bibles to Acts 4:32-35. What we have here is a snapshot of a community of people who have been transformed by putting their trust in Jesus. When people who live by faith in Jesus Christ … who have placed their confidence in His saving, sustaining grace … here’s what their community looks like: Read Acts 4:32-37. (Everybody say, “one in heart and mind” … “shared everything” … “great power” … “much grace” … “no needy persons”.)
Our church’s mission is to join God in developing passionate followers of Jesus Christ. And one of the things that passionate followers of Jesus do is that they build Christ-centered relationships. So we try to build this into the structure of our church in various ways including what we call Community Groups (formerly A2C Groups). These groups are about to start back up; there’s information in your worship folder about it. But I want you to hear first-hand why these groups are important. Larry Thompson and his wife Joy lead the Koinonia Bible Study class on Sunday mornings. (more…)
While we’re standing, take out your Bibles and let’s read from God’s Word … Acts 4:32-37. Pray. For weeks I had been planning to preach on this text today, but in light of what God did among us this past week in our OneCry Prayer Summit, I feel led just to focus on that first sentence of our text.
Acts 4:32 – All the believers were one in heart and mind.
What an amazing statement about any church. These believers who had been through the fires of persecution were freshly filled with the Holy Spirit were knit together in a community that might be hard for us to comprehend. Imagine a group of people all being one in heart and mind.
ESV – Acts 4:32 – Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul…
I gather from this that the Spirit was moving in most everyone’s life. Whether that means 100% or at least an overwhelming majority, the fact is that the whole church was together in what God was doing … heart and soul. What we have here in the first chapters of the book of Acts is the record of one of the greatest revivals in history. Something happened in their hearts and minds that knit them together in such a way that the Gospel was able to go forth in power and needs of people in the church were met in a miraculous way. (more…)
Let’s open our Bibles to James 4:1-6. I want us to stay focused on the pattern we have seen in the book of Acts and the importance of prayer in the life of the Spirit-empowered church. In Acts 4 we’re told that when faced with threatening circumstances the church was moved to desperate prayer. And amazing things happened.
Acts 4:31 – After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Great things happen after we pray. So I want to stay in that vein today, but also see what another New Testament writer teaches the church about prayer. James is the brother of the Lord Jesus. He was the pastor of the church in Jerusalem, but here he’s writing to believers who come from a Jewish background and are scattered all over that part of the world. He’s concerned about the vitality of their faith … about the dangers of hypocrisy … and the poison of worldliness that can seep into the lives of believers. As we read let’s keep in mind that the focus of our church these day is REVIVAL PRAYING. Next Sunday begins our OneCry Prayer Summit. Dr. Bill Elliff will preach in a combined service. Please do whatever you have to do to make this a priority in your schedule. Read James 4:1-6. (more…)
Welcome to 2015 here at Travis Avenue Baptist Church. It’s going to be a great year. At the end of our worship today you’ll hear more about the start-up of our Wednesday night programming for all ages, preschoolers through adults. We have a great new study in I Corinthians led by Dr. Mark Taylor who has just published a commentary on that book of the Bible. As I pray this morning I want to give thanks for God’s abundant provision and your great generosity. Our budget offering goal for December was just a little under $600,000. As of December 31 we had received over $640,000, and that total will actually grow as we received gifts by mail and through online giving. God is faithful; let’s give Him thanks.
ILLUSTRATION – Imagine this scenario. Our City Council passes an ordinance that preaching on certain controversial topics is considered hate speech. And because our church is unapologetically committed to the Word of God, I and some of our ministers are arrested. Criminal charges are filed, and a trial date is set. The authorities threaten that if we don’t comply the doors to our buildings will be chained shut so that we cannot meet. What would be our churches immediate response to that? Would we be scared into compliance worried that we might lose members or money? Would we hire an attorney? Would we mount a protest march in downtown Fort Worth? Would we appeal to the state and federal Supreme Court on the basis of the separation of church and state? What would we do? (more…)
ILLUSTRATION – I was in a department store last week checking out at the register and I noticed the man helping me looked weary. Discouragement was written all over his face. I asked him if it had been a hard week and he said yes, but every week is hard in retail. He went on to tell me that he had lost his IT job in the crash of 2008. Now in his mid-50s he was in retail … the hardest job he ever had. It wasn’t what he envisioned he would be doing at this stage in his life. I thanked him and tried to encourage him as I left. As I walked away I thought about how many people are like that … discouraged, dreams dashed against the rocks of circumstances. I thought about the ray of light that Jesus brings into dark, hopeless lives like this man’s life. (more…)
Open your Bibles to Luke 2:25. We’re on an ADVENTure during this season. Advent is the name given to the church’s celebration of the arrival or the coming of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Here in Luke 2 we’re introduced to two obscure believers who, when they witnessed the advent of Jesus, worshipped and treasured Him. Before I pick up reading let me set the stage. Jesus is just a few weeks old at this point. Mary and Joseph were righteous people who faithfully observed the Law of Moses which required that their first-born son be brought to the Temple to present to the Lord (similar to what we observed this morning in parent/child dedication). But as Mary, Joseph and Jesus were in the Temple, they ran into a very special man. (more…)