Monday, March 13, 2023

Hebrews: Jesus is Superior to the Angels


STOP — Hebrews 1:5-14


The author of Hebrews provides a contrast between Jesus and the angels to demonstrate that Jesus is superior to the angels. God has declared that Jesus is His Son and to the angels God has commanded that the angels worship him. To Jesus God gave the Kingdom, but to the angels God made them servants.


Jesus is the King of the Kingdom and angels are his servants.


1. Jesus is greater than the angels because God has treated them differently. God declared that Jesus is the Son and that angels are to worship him.

2. God made the angels servants, but He made Jesus the King of the Kingdom.

3. Jesus was at the beginning and was responsible for creation. He is ruler over it.

4. Angels are servants of the Kingdom. They have the responsibility of serving God’s people in our task of working for the Kingdom.


Thank You for Jesus. He is the creator and savior of all things and I join the angels in worshipping Him.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Hebrews: Jesus is Supreme

 Who is Jesus?

The book of Hebrews answers this question. Apparently, in an attempt to make Christianity more appealing, people were downplaying the identity of Jesus. The author of this book/sermon wanted to correct people’s incorrect theology about Jesus.

This is why the Hebrews begins with an argument for the supremacy of Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

Hebrews 1:1-4 (CSB)

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. So he became superior to the angels, just as the name he inherited is more excellent than theirs.

The author of Hebrews started by stating that in the past, God spoke to his people through the prophets. But in these last days, he has spoken to us through his Son. This alone tells us that

Jesus is not just another prophet, but he is the Son of God, sent to us to reveal God's plan for creation.

The author then goes on to describe Jesus as "the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being." In other words, Jesus is the perfect image of God the Father. He is not just a messenger, but he is the embodiment of God's love and grace for us. Through Jesus, we can see the very nature of God, his character, and his will for us.

Furthermore, the author of Hebrews emphasizes that Jesus is the one who sustains all things by his powerful word. It is through Jesus that everything was created, and he holds everything together. This means that Jesus is not only the revelation of God, but he is also the one who upholds the universe and keeps everything in order.

Finally, the author tells us that Jesus has become superior to the angels, who were also messengers of God in the Old Testament. This is because Jesus is not just a messenger, but he is the Son of God, and he has been given a name that is above all names. He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

So, what does this mean for us? It means that we have a Savior who is not only powerful but also personal. He is not only the Creator of the universe but also the Redeemer of our souls. Through him, we can experience the forgiveness of our sins, the healing of our brokenness, and the restoration of our relationship with God.

As we reflect on these words from Hebrews, let us be reminded of the greatness of our God and the depth of his love for us. Let us also be encouraged to put our faith in Jesus, who is the only way to the Father. May we surrender our lives to him, and may we live every day in the light of his grace and truth.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

The Chosen: Mocking God?


At Bethlehem we have been watching The Chosen on Wednesday evenings. Last night we finished season  3.

There is no doubt that the show is well done. It is able to grab and hold your attention, which is a must for any show or movie. The additional story lines they have added to it are compelling enough to keep, even us who are very familiar with the Gospels, engaged and wondering what will happen next.

I think the main benefit of The Chosen is that it helps people to engage their imaginations as they consider what it would have been like to have walked along side of Jesus. For instance, watching Jesus perform miracles has given me a greater sense of awe and wonder as I think about what those events would have been like then simply reading the text. In this way The Chosen enhances my reading of the Gospels.

On the flip side is the reality that the show is the interpretation and harmonization of the events recorded in the Gospels by  a small group of people, if not just one guy. There are certainly things about the show I would argue about. I think the sending out of the 12 on their mission work happened too early. I also think the disruption in the Decapolis is implausible, since it is in Gentile territory I am not sure the disciples would have gone there on their mission trip. Jesus’ return to Nazareth just seemed odd to me, like  having Lazarus grow up with Jesus (having Jesus declare that he is the Law of Moses was a good touch, even though that was one of the most controversial things heading into season 3).

To be honest, when it comes to The Chosen, I am rather indifferent about it. I have enjoyed watching it, but I don’t feel compelled to keep watching it either.

I know some people who are big fans of the show. Which I think is good because there needs to be support of well done media that is influenced by and supports Christian faith.

I also know that the show has its critics. For example this critique that I saw on Twitter.

What? The Chosen is mocking God?

The Chosen is a TV show, it is not a commentary on Scripture and it is not adding to Scripture. It is attempting to tell a story, helping people engage their imaginations (which is an under utilized tool in discipleship).  Hopefully, this will help them arrive at a greater appreciate of the text the next time they hear it or read it.

I am positive that if you asked Dallas Jenkins if he thought the Gospels were lacking or were in some way imperfect he would say no. He has a desire to tell the story of Jesus in a way that grabs people’s attention, and hopefully feel compelled to read the Bible to discover the whole story.

Here Mr. Jolly made assumptions about the thoughts and motivations behind the show. Rather than being charitable with his assessment, he assigned evil motivations to the people creating it. Because he has a high view of Scripture (notice he is holding a Bible in his profile picture), he felt the need to protect the integrity and sufficiency of the Bible.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love the Bible and that I totally believe that the Bible is the word of God that He wants His people to have. The Bible reveals God’s wisdom and will to us. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, it renews our minds and transforms our lives. 

This is what I believe, yet, every week as I prepare sermons and lessons I think about how to communicate this wonderful book to people in a way that captures their attention and helps them on their discipleship journey. This work requires using illustrations, metaphors, and analogies to help  make the text understandable and applicable to the lives of those listening.

When a preacher or teacher of the Bible uses an illustration, does that mean he or she is judging the Bible to be lacking or boring? 

Of course not! 

It does show that the preacher or teacher understands that the Bible was written for us but not to us. In other words, the Bible was written to people in a different time and in a different culture, and what would have been understandable to them is not necessarily understandable to us. Therefore we need to do the hard work to understand it and explain it. The work God has called a preacher or teacher to do is to explain His word to people in a way that is understandable to them.

I believe that is similar to what Dallas Jenkins is doing with The Chosen

Is he doing perfectly? 

No, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t helping people understand a little bit better what it might have been like to follow Jesus 2,000 years ago.

The Bible is a wonderful book and the story of Jesus is a beautiful story. 

These realities should motivate us to make it as understandable as we can, whether creating a show about the life of Jesus, teaching about the parables, or preaching about the resurrection. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Asking for a Friend: How Much Influence Should the Bible Have on Morality?

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.

We are created in the image of God. One of the implications of that reality is that our standard for right and wrong comes from God and His character. To find out about God’s character we need to turn to the Bible, which is God’s revelation to His people. The Bible is essential in forming our morality to help us become the people God created us to be.

Text: Romans 2:13-16

Big Idea: The Bible shapes the beliefs and behaviors of God’s people as we influence the world.

Challenge: Read Ephesians 5:1-21 and (1) Confess sin (2) Think of a way to show love. 

Hebrews: The Nature of the Son


STOP - Hebrews 1:1-4


God speaks to His people. In the past God spoke through prophets, but now He has spoken through His Son. The Son represents God perfectly and He sustains all things and made possible the purification for sin. In this He has proven to be greater than the angels.


Jesus is the perfect representation of God. To know Jesus is to know God.


1. God speaks to His people. He has communicated His word and will to them. In the past this mostly done through other people: Prophets.

2. At the right time, when there was a people who were familiar with God’s word, Jesus came as the perfect representation of God.

3. Jesus is the Creator and Heir of the universe. It belongs to Him.

4. Jesus continues to work at sustaining the universe and He made purification sin possible.

5. Jesus reigns with God in Heaven. 

6. All these things prove that Jesus is greater than the angels. He is not just another heavenly spiritual being.


Lord, thank You for Jesus. I may not understand everything about the incarnation, I do trust that Jesus is the Eternal Son who secured forgiveness of sins for your people.

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

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 ...