Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The Discipleship Road: Providence

 I am preaching a sermon series called The Discipleship Road at Bethlehem Church. The series is loosely based on Eugene Peterson’s book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. 

The big idea I have for the series is: Discipleship takes us from the place we don’t want to be to the place God has prepared for us. 

Discipleship is like a long journey. It starts with the realization that we are in a place that we don’t want to be, or that we are not the people we want to be, and that we are committed to doing what it takes to change.

Yet, maybe the most important part of that is the understanding that we need God’s help to make this possible. A disciple of Jesus acknowledges that everything, even faith and repentance, are ultimately gifts from God.

Text: Psalm 121
Bottomline: Our Discipleship journey relies on God’s power and help.
Challenge: Daily surrender your discipleship to God.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Prayer is Essential to Change

The world that we live in is not what it should be. On a daily basis we are saddened to hear about the murders, disasters, wars, and other tragedies that dominate our headlines. 

Even though we are saddened, we know that there is little that we dan do to change the major issues that face the world. So what are we to do?

As cliché as it might sound, we who follow Jesus are called to pray. It is through prayer that we experience change.

The reality is that we have very little control over what goes on in this world, but what we do have control over is how we live. While we our actions may not result in world peace or solve world hunger or diminish crime in our communities, our choice to love, to forgive, and to serve can have a huge impact on those around us.

Here is the issue, we are not naturally loving, forgiving, or merciful. We tend to be selfish, prideful, and untrustworthy. In other words, we contribute to the problems in the world, rather than doing what we can do to relieve the issues in our part of the world.

This is why change is crucial.

If all our failed attempts to change have taught us anything, it is that we need help to change. We can’t change on our own, especially in ways that make this world a better place.

Ephesians 3:14-18 (NLT)
When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

Paul’s prayer for the people who received his letter was that they would  receive what they needed, that they would be strengthened and experience God, and that they would have a knowledge of God’s love. This was a prayer for the Ephesians to experience transformation. A transformation that allows them to know and experience God in a new way.

This is a transformation that cannot happen apart from God working in our lives. The deep work that needs to happen in our hearts and minds can only be done through the work of the Spirit. Without prayer and surrendering our wills this transformation is not going to happen.

While it is important for us to pray for healing or friends, family, and acquaintances, it is equally important for us to pray prayers similar to Paul’s for ourselves and our church families. Without God’s work, change will not happen.

Make prayer an essential part of your spiritual formation.


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Discipleship Road: Repentance

 At Bethlehem Church I have started a new sermon series entitled The Discipleship Road. It is loosely based off Eugene Peterson’s book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. The point of the series is to emphasize the importance of being committed to the discipleship process. Being a disciple of Jesus is a journey that is going to take the rest of our lives.

This first sermon looks at repentance. Repentance starts with the realization that we are in a place that we don’t want to be in or that we are not the person that we want to be. That is motivation that gets us started on the journey.

Text: Psalm 120 
Bottomline: Our Discipleship Journey begins with repentance. 
Challenge: Daily Confess That You are not where You want to be. Ask God to rescue you.

The Spiritually Mature Life: Having the Fruit

On Sunday, April 7, 2024, I started a new sermon series at Bethlehem Church called A Spiritually Mature Life. This sermon series is focused ...