Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Asking for a Friend: Do I Need to Choose Between Faith and Science?


Everyone has questions. Some questions we can find the answer with a quick search on Google. Other questions are more intimidating. Questions that surround our faith can be scary because we worry about what the answer might be and whether or not those answer will affect our faith. What ends up happening is that we ignore the question, but that question still lingers in the back of our mind.

In Asking for a Friend we want to look at a few of these questions and see if there is a way to provide an answer to them that will not only strengthen our faith, but also help us see the world through a more Christian perspective.

Too often our culture makes us believe that science and faith are at odds with one another, and therefore we need to choose between them as we pursue what is true. The reality is that science and faith are not in conflict, rather, they should be viewed as tools we use to arrive at an accurate and true view of our world. 

Text: Psalm 19

Big Idea: Science and religion are tools that we use to gain a better understanding of God and the world we live in. 

Challenge: Read through Psalm 19 each day this week and ask God to reveal Himself to you through nature and the Bible.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Philippians: Appreciation of Support


STOP — Philippians 4:10-23


Paul expressed his thanks for the Philippians support. He has learned to be thankful in all circumstances because God is with him providing him with what he needs. The Philippians have generously supported Paul through the years, ever since he left Philippi, so Paul prayed that God would supply their needs.  


We need to be grateful, knowing that God will provide for our needs.


  1. The Philippians have been generous in their support for Paul. Not only has Paul been appreciative of their generosity, but he also worshipped God because of them. Paul knew that God provided for his needs through the actions of the Philippians church.
  2. Paul had a roller coaster life. Sometimes he had enough to live on and other times he did not. Whatever he is situation Paul was grateful to God and that allowed him to be content.
  3. Paul gained his strength to do ministry, whether well fed or hungry, through the strength God gave him. Without God’s provision he would not be able to keep going.
  4. The Philippians had a heart for Paul’s ministry, and they wanted to partner with him in it. This led them to generously support Paul whenever they had the opportunity to send him gifts.


Lord, I want to be like Paul who trusted you for the provisions he had in his life.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Philippians: Practical Counsel


STOP — Philippians 4:2-9


Unity is crucial to a healthy church. Paul asked two women, Euodia and Syntyche, to work out their difference and to continue to work together for the Kingdom. 

Worshipping with joy and living with grace are to characterize the Philippians lives. Rather than worrying they are to pray and through their prayer God will give them confidence and peace so they will be able to stand strong with Jesus.

To live with joy, grace, and confidence they need focus on what is true and good, things that are morally excellency and praiseworthy, because that will shape their thinking. They are to continue to follow Paul’s example and teaching.


Pay attention to your thoughts because your thoughts shape your attitudes and actions.


  1. Unity is crucial. Euodia and Syntyche were helpful in the mission of proclaiming the Gospel. Their disagreement was a hinderance, so Paul that it was important to address the issue. It is crucial that we do our part to work through the disagreements we might have, because they can be hindering the mission of the church to make disciples.
  2. Worshipping with joy is an important spiritual discipline for us to have. It reminds us of the good things God is doing and takes our minds off the difficulties. Rejoicing helps us to remember that God is working all things for good for His people.
  3. When we aren’t joyful it is easy to worry. There are plenty of things to worry about, but when we have joy it is easier for us to turn those worries over to God, because we are confident that He will provide for our needs. If we are not praying we are missing out on a huge blessing of what it means to follow Jesus.
  4. The biggest blessing of prayer is the peace, the confidence, that resides is our our hearts, helping us in times of doubt, worry, and discouragement.
  5. Our thought life is extremely important. We need to be intentional about what we allow our minds to dwell on. This is why all forms of media need to be consumed moderately and wisely. We want our thoughts shaped by the things of Heaven and not the things of this world.
  6. In our spiritual formation, having someone who can serve as an example for us is hugely impactful. Paul told the Philippians to follow his example and teaching. Even if we haven’t had a good mentor whom we can follow, we need to be aware that we are examples for our children, friends, and others around us to follow.


Heavenly Father, may I be intentional about my worship of You. I want the focus of my life to be on You and not the things of this world so I can continue to grow into the person you created me to be.

Tomorrow: Philippians 4:10-23

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Philippians: Reaching Forward for God’s Goal


STOP — Philippians 3:11-4:1


Paul’s goal was to experience the resurrection of Jesus. After he explained his lofty goal Paul wanted to make sure the Philippians wasn’t saying he had achieved it. He considered himself still in progress, forgetting his past and moving for forward. This is the attitude Christians should have in discipleship, to not believe you have attained it, but to keep making progress towards maturity. Part of it progress is following the example of those who have more mature than we are. This is important to have good examples because there are false teachers who are motivated by their flesh rather than the spirit. Instead, Christians should remember that their citizenship is in heaven and that they have their hope is in the Resurrection and when Jesus returns to make everything right.


Be intentional about spiritual maturity.


  1. Paul is not passive in his spiritual formation. He said he made every effort to take hold of the resurrection life that was available to him. His motivation was because of the love Jesus had showed him.
  2. We are not to be held back by our past. God has forgiven us, and so we need to move on from the sins we have done. We do that by focusing on the hope that we have in Jesus. The promise of resurrection, justice, and restoration provide us with hope to keep moving forward with Jesus.
  3. It is crucial to have examples of faith in our lives. Paul urged the Philippians to follow his example. Seeing something done is much more helpful than just reading about how something is done. Real life examples help us to know that a life of faith is possible and provides us with ideas of how we are to respond to the various issues that come up in our lives.
  4. We need to be on our guard against false teachers. These false teachers are more concerned with life in this world and meeting the needs of the flesh than they are about Jesus and his kingdom. This is why it is crucial that we have good solid people that we can look to and who can encourage us through life.
  5. We are citizens, first and foremost, of heaven. This means Jesus and his kingdom are to have our allegiance and loyalty above all else. United States citizenship is a distance second to the reality that We are citizens of heaven, and this should be seen in our actions.
  6. Jesus will return and transform us into the people God created us to be. People who are led by the Spirit rather than the flesh. This is our hope, to be conformed to the image of Jesus.


Father, transform my hope so I long for the coming of Your Kingdom and resurrection of Your people. May I continue on the path of spiritual formation until that day arrives.

Tomorrow: Philippians 4:2-9

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Philippians: Knowing Christ


STOP — Philippians 3:7-11


For Paul everything that he put his confidence and value in prior to Jesus has lost its worth. What matters to him now is knowing Jesus and having his life conformed to the way of Jesus through faith. Through this Paul hopes to experience the power of the resurrection in his life and witness the resurrection when Jesus returns.


Knowing Jesus is the most important part of our lives.


  1. Paul was at the top of his world before Jesus. He had every reason to be confident and boastful about who he was and what he had achieved. After Jesus the things he thought were the most important: his obedience to the Law, his ancestry, his identity as a Pharisee and Jew...all of it was worth nothing compared to Jesus.
  2. Paul’s attitude towards knowing Jesus causes me to reflect on my relationship with Jesus and I am reminded how easy it is for me to value other things. I want that faith that Paul had to believe that knowing Jesus is the most important part of life.
  3. Our righteousness is not based on our actions but on Jesus. Often we can feel like failures because we realize how we have fallen short of God’s will for our lives. That is why we need to be reminded that through faith we receive Jesus’s righteousness. We don’t have to be discouraged, rather we keep submitting to discipleship in the belief that God will transform our lives in the process.
  4. Paul’s goal was to experience the power of the resurrection. First, he wanted to experience in his life, that it would transform his life as he did the will of God and suffered in that work. Second, he hoped to experience the resurrection when Jesus returned to restore the world, make everything right, and bring his people back to life. The resurrection was central to Paul’s hope.


Lord God, help me to experience knowing Jesus as the most important part of my life. May I not be satisfied with lesser things, but have a growing hunger for the resurrection life that Jesus has for people.

Tomorrow: Philippians 3:12-4:1

Asking for a Friend: Can I Trust the Bible?

Everyone has questions. Some questions we can find the answer with a quick search on Google. Other questions are more intimidating. Questions that surround our faith can be scary because we worry about what the answer might be and whether or not those answer will affect our faith. What ends up happening is that we ignore the question, but that question still lingers in the back of our mind.

In Asking for a Friend we want to look at a few of these questions and see if there is a way to provide an answer to them that will not only strengthen our faith, but also help us see the world through a more Christian perspective.

In the first sermon we answer the question, “Can I Trust the Bible?” 

This is the foundational question that must be answered before looking at any of the other questions. As Christians we want our beliefs to be rooted in Scripture, and if we can’t trust what the Bible has to say then it will be impossible to have a Christian answer to the questions that we have.

Text: 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Big Idea: We can trust the Bible to give us the truth we need to live as God’s people.

Challenge: Study Philippians with me at

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Philippians: The Right Confidence


STOP — Philippians 3:1–6


Paul wanted the Philippians to have joy and to worship in addition to honoring Epaphroditus, because God had been merciful.

Now that Paul has updated the Philippians he moved to provide some teaching. He wanted to warn them of false teachers. These teachers taught that it was important to be circumcised and follow other aspects of old covenant law in order to follow Jesus. Paul taught that it was not, that these things were merely external things that they should not place their confidence in. If they mattered Paul would have more reason than anyone to boast with confidence because his credentials were the best. 


Our confidence is in the saving work of Jesus and the transforming work of the Spirit.


  1. Paul wanted to provide an update on himself, Timothy, and Epaphroditus to show the Philippians how God had been at work and provide them with a reason to rejoice, to thank God for what He was doing.
  2. The subject of false teaching was something Paul had addressed before, but he knew that it was something that needed to be revisited. False teaching is able to lead people astray and if we don’t stay vigilance it is easy to believe that they are teaching the truth.
  3. The line Paul draws between true faith and the false teaching is what we put our confidence in. Is our confidence in what we have done and who we are or is it in what Jesus has done and who the Spirit says we are.
  4. Verse 3 is key. Circumcision was the sign that people were part of God’s people in the old covenant. God’s people, the circumcision, in the new covenant are identified by their Spirit-guided worship and are confident in Jesus’s death and resurrection for salvation. Their confidence is in the actions of God and not in what they have accomplished.
  5. Paul wrote that if our confidence was in the things of the flesh, our ancestry and our actions, then he would have more confidence than anyone else. Very few other people could match Paul’s credentials.


Heavenly Father, thank You for providing the way of new life through Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection and the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. May I continue to rely on You for what I need.

Tomorrow: Philippians 3:7-11

Monday, February 13, 2023

Philippians: Timothy and Epaphroditus


STOP — Philippians 2:19-30


Paul was in prison, but he still wanted to maintain contact with the churches he helped start. He told the Philippians that he wanted to send Timothy to them to let them know how Paul was getting along. Paul commends Timothy for his faithfulness to the Gospel and his commitment to Paul. The plan was to send Timothy to them after the decision about Paul was made, and Paul was hopeful that he could travel and see the Philippians after he was released.

Since it could be a while before those visits could happen, Paul decided to send Epaphroditus back to Philippi. Epaphroditus carried the letter and care package to Paul from the Philippians. He had been a great help to Paul in prison, even risking his life since he got sick in the process. Paul wanted the Philippians to receive him back with the knowledge that he accomplished his task and then some.


Faithfulness and commitment are essential to the life of a disciple.


  1. Paul knew that the Philippians were interested in how things were going with him, so he had the plan to send Timothy to them. It is important that we do what we can to keep the lines of communication open.
  2. Timothy set himself apart from other people because of his commitment to the Gospel. In Philippians 2:1-4 Paul wrote about the importance of not looking after your own interests, but also to consider the interests of others. Here, Paul commends Timothy for having that type of attitude.
  3. Face to face time is crucial to relationships. Paul desired to go and see the Philippians again, and he was confident that God would allow that to happen.
  4. Epaphroditus was the letter carrier from the Philippians to Paul. He did more than just carried the letter, he joined in Paul’s work when he arrived. He proved to be a great help to Paul.
  5. In his decision to carry the letter and help Paul, Epaphroditus put his life on the line when he got sick. We don’t know the risks that lay ahead of us, all we can do, like Epaphroditus, is to be faithful in the calling that is right before us.
  6. Paul saw that it was God’s mercy that heal Epaphroditus of his illness and kept Paul and the Philippians from experiencing the distress of his death.
  7. We should honor those people who put their lives on the line for the Gospel.


Lord God, help me to follow the example of Timothy and Epaphroditus, who were faithful to the Gospel and committed to their friend Paul.

Tomorrow: Philippians 3:1-6

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Philippians: Lights in the World

STOP — Philippians 2:12-18


Paul wanted the Philippians to obey him in this teaching of humility. It wasn’t enough for them to do what is right when he was there, it was even more important to do it when he wasn’t there. When they lived a life of obedience they continued the work of salvation in their life. God would join them in this work. To live in humility and to work out their salvation meant they needed to quit grumbling and arguing, but live as holy people. Their good lives should make them stand out in the world around them. Paul wanted them and him to find joy in their humble obedience as they grew in their spiritual formation.


Our lives can be a light in the darkness when we follow the example of Jesus.


  1. The Philippians obeyed when Paul was around. They wanted to please him. Now Paul wants to emphasis that they need to obey even when he wasn’t there. Our obedience should not be dependent on who is watching us. True faith leads us to do the right thing even when there is no immediate benefit to us.
  2. We miss out on spiritual formation when we neglect living with humility and being obedient. We need to take this seriously, fear and trembling, and not just treat it as a nice optional thing to do.
  3. God is at work with us to transform our lives. So our transformation isn’t just about our effort, it is God working in us. We need to trust that He is at work.
  4. Two things we need to avoid, things that will effect our unity, are grumbling and arguing. It is our unity and working together in one purpose that helps us stand out, to shine like stars, in this world.
  5. Their continued spiritual formation is confirmation that Paul’s efforts are not being wasted. He needed to know that his sacrifice was making a difference.
  6. The Philippians should find joy in their spiritual formation, just as Paul did. We need to be joyful in the positive change that happens to those around us because of their faith.


Lord God, help me to be obedient. I want to experience the transformation you have for my life.

Tomorrow: Philippians 2:19-30

Friday, February 10, 2023

Philippians: Have the Attitude of Jesus


STOP — Philippians 2:5-11


For unity to exist there must be humility. The example for humility the Philippians are to follow is that of Jesus. Jesus is God, but when it came time to rescue the world for evil and destruction, Jesus didn’t think he needed to hold on to his rights as God, but he freely gave them up so he could become a servant, a great act of humility, so he could do what was best for his creation. His humility lead to the humiliation of death on the cross. Even though Jesus freely gave up his rights as God, God, because of Jesus’s humility, exalted Jesus above everything else in all of creation. This reveals God’s loving and gracious character and will lead all of creation to worship Him.


The humility of Jesus shows us that we will not miss out on blessing if we humble ourselves and let others go first.


  1. This connects back to Paul’s teaching that we should consider others better than ourselves and to think about their interests as well as our own interests. Paul wants us to know that this call to humility is us following the example of Jesus.
  2. Paul taught that Jesus is God. We may not understand all the mechanics of things, but what can understand is that Jesus voluntarily gave up rights due to him as God to rescue his creations from sin and evil.
  3. Jesus’s humility led him to the humiliation of the cross and death. Our humility will, most likely, be a lot less costly.
  4. “For this reason...” God exalts Jesus back to his status, gives him all authority, because he put the interests of others ahead of his own rights. God’s promise is that our sacrifice will not be in vain, that he will restore to us, and expand, all that was lost.
  5. The humble obedience of Jesus, along with our humble obedience, leads to God receiving the worship that He deserves.


Lord God, give me the wisdom, faith, and love that I need to follow the humble example of Jesus.

Tomorrow: Philippians 2:12-18

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Philippians: Think of Others

  STOP — Philippians 2:1-4


As citizens of God’s Kingdom the Philippians are to evaluate their lives. If they find that their lives are better, that they have encouragement, love, fellowship, mercy, then they are to take the next step and work for unity. They are not to think about themselves and their desires, rather they are to consider how they can love and serve each other.


God has given us good gifts so we should seek to honor Him by being united in love and purpose with each other.


  1. “If, then...” should have us looking backwards. Paul previously mentioned that he wants the Philippians to live as citizens of heaven, which means they are to live lives that are worthy of the Gospel. How do they know if they are living that type of life? They are to examine themselves: do they have encouragement in Christ or consolation of love?
  2. The first evidence of a life that is worthy of Jesus is the presence of encouragement, love, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the feelings of affection and mercy. The second evidence is the choice to work for unity, to share the love God had given them, and to work with the same purpose of bringing God’s grace and love into the world.
  3. The focus of our lives needs to shift for being selfish to humility. What does it mean to consider others better than ourselves? Maybe we see a vision of this with Abraham when he let Lot make the first choice of land. We can let other people go first because we are confident that God has enough blessing that we will not be left out.
  4. We need to an interest in the lives of other people. It is easy for us to be consumed with what is happening to us and therefore we miss out on the ways we can serve and love those around us. It is important that we choose to pay attention to the lives of other people.


Lord Jesus, I ask for the faith to trust that You are able to bless everyone, so I don’t have to be stingy with my time, attention, and love.

For tomorrow: Philippians 2:5-11

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Philippians: Living is Christ

STOP — Philippians 1:21-30


Paul mentioned that his hope (verse 20) that whether by his life or death he would have the courage to bring honor to Jesus. He saw that he had two paths before him. If he continued to live he would be able to continue the work Jesus gave to him to do. If he died he would go to be with Jesus. Paul did not know which to desire. To live meant that he could continue to teach and encourage people to follow Jesus, but to die meant he could experience the delight of being in heaven with Jesus. 

As Paul waited to see what would happen he urged the Philippians to live as citizens of heaven (not just as citizens of Rome) so they could live lives that were worthy of the Gospel. To live this type of life required that they live united as they lived and proclaimed the Gospel. They would need unity and courage because they too would face suffering because of Jesus.


We need the commitment and courage to live by faith because of the hardships that will come our way.


  1. The dilemma for Paul was real. He loved people and wanted to see them become part of the Kingdom. He also was tired of the suffering he had experienced and was ready to be with Jesus. 
  2.  As long as we are alive in this world we need to remember that we have a job to do: make disciples. No matter what we need to continue to do what we can, that includes giving, praying, and living a faithful life.
  3. Paul urged the Philippians to live as citizens of heaven. As residents of Philippi they were also citizens of Rome. That was an honor, but Paul wanted them to understand their greater citizenship was to Heaven. They were to live the way God wants His people to live: with love, joy, peace, gentleness...and the rest.
  4. The Philippians were granted the privilege of suffering for Jesus. Why is this a privilege? It means that they were living in such a way that the powers of the world wanted to oppose them. When we live as citizens of Heaven, the powers of this world will oppose us. They do not want the light of our lives to shine in the darkness they have created.


Lord, grant me the courage and the faith to live a life that is worthy of Jesus.

Tomorrow: Philippians 2:1-4

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Philippians: The Advance of the Gospel

STOP — Philippians 1:12-20

Paul transitioned to updating the Philippians about his life. The main point that he wanted them to know was that being in prison did not stop him from sharing the Gospel. Two important things happened as Paul shared the Gospel. First, the guards learned about the reason for Paul’s imprisonment and other believers gained confidence to proclaim the Gospel. Along with this was a group of preachers who proclaimed Jesus for financial gain and to cause Paul trouble while he was in prison. This doesn’t bother Paul because he is grateful that the truth of Jesus was being taught. Paul’s concern was that he would continue to bring honor to Jesus and not do anything that might bring shame to Jesus and the church.

We should find joy anytime the truth of the Gospel is rightly taught, because God is honored and people have the chance to believe.

  1. What we may see as obstacles to sharing the Gospel may actually turn it a benefit. The key is being faithful where we are. Paul did not let the reality of being in prison prevent him from sharing the Gospel.
  2. Our faithful example can have a powerful impact on the life of others. Paul’s continued ministry while in prison gave confidence to other people to share the Gospel which allowed for the continued growth of the Church.
  3. We should not let the bad motivations of other people bother us if they are sharing the Gospel. What should bother us is bad behavior and not representing Jesus well. Paul found joy in the sharing of the Gospel, even though the motivations of the preachers were bad.

  4. Even after all his faithful service, Paul was still concerned about representing Jesus well. He did not want to do anything that may bring shame on the name of Jesus and the Church.
Heavenly Father, increase my faith so I can have the confidence of Paul, who was able to continue with his ministry of sharing the Gospel even in prison.

Tomorrow: Philippians 1:21-30

Monday, February 6, 2023

Philippians: Continued Prayers

STOP — Philippians 1:7-11

Paul continued to explain to the Philippians why he is grateful for them and why he has so much affection towards them. They have partnered with him through out his ministry, including his imprisonment. Paul let them know that his pray for them is for their love will grow through the wisdom and discernment that God gives. They need this so they can be spiritually mature and ready for the return of Jesus.

It is crucial we continue on with spiritual formation so we can be ready for the return of Jesus.

  1. Relationships are very important. Apparently, Paul was held in high regard in Philippi and they had helped him throughout his ministry. Paul was touched by there care and generosity and he admired their faith in proclaiming the Gospel. Both Paul and the Philippians valued the relationship they had with each other.
  2. The Philippians responded to the Gospel, not only by receiving Jesus as their Lord and Savior, but also dedicating their lives to proclaiming the Gospel. Part of the dedication is seen in their support of Paul and his ministry.
  3. Paul not only prayed for the Philippians, but he let them know what his prayer was for them. He prayed that they would experience spiritual formation as their love grew. This growth was due to an increased wisdom, understanding, and discernment about who God is and His will for their lives.
  4. The way we can be filled with righteousness is to have our love for God and people grow. We cannot grow in righteousness if we are not growing in love.
Heavenly Father, may Paul’s prayer for the Philippians be true for me. I want my love to grow as the result of having a better understanding of your truth.

Tomorrow: Philippians 1:12-20

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Philippians: Greetings and Prayer

STOP — Philippians 1:1-6

Paul, along with his student Timothy, wrote a letter to the church they helped start in the city of Philippi. It is addressed to all the saints in the city, including the recognized leaders of the church. Paul told them that he thanked God for them and was joyful because of them. Not only did Paul have fond memories of them, but he was grateful for their help in proclaiming the gospel. He encouraged them by reminding them that God would mature their faith so they would be ready for the return of Jesus.

Philippians 1:6 (CSB) I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

  1. Paul identifies himself and Timothy as servants of Jesus. This means Paul realizes that he is not doing his work, but he is doing the work of Jesus. Paul saw himself under the will and authority of Jesus.
  2. Saints in Christ Jesus are anyone who has placed their trust in Jesus. Saints are God’s holy people. Overseers and deacons are those who have been set apart by the church to do the work of the church.
  3. Grace (the common Greek greeting) and peace (the common Jewish greeting) come from one sources: God through Jesus. Paul is not just offering them cultural niceties, but he is giving them a blessing that comes from God. He wants the Philippians to experience grace and peace.
  4. Paul, and Timothy, had history with the Philippians. There would have been good reason for Paul to thank God for the Philippians because they had showed him kindness.
  5. There is joy Paul when he thinks about the Philippians, not only because of their kindness, but because they had been at work to proclaim the Gospel. They supported Paul in his ministry in Philippi, they had continued to follow his example, and they supported him in is teaching ministry/mission work. Even during his time in prison.
  6. Paul knew that the Philippians, for all the things they were doing well, still needed to grow in their faith. He wanted to reminded them that the work of spiritual formation/discipleship was not entirely on their shoulders, God would carry on that work, so they could be ready for the return of Jesus.

Father in Heaven, help me to be like Paul, who was concerned with the spiritual well being of those who he taught and led. May I remember that it isn’t just about what I say and do, but it is also about trusting You to continue to work in their hearts and minds.

Tomorrow: Philippians 1:7-11

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 ...