Archive for May, 2020

Sermon 05-24-2020: “Do Not Be Surprised at the Fiery Trial”

May 27, 2020

Scripture: 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11.

Cavonna Holcomb referred to me as Dr. Doolittle on Facebook two weeks ago—because I rescued a baby possum from my garage and brought it to her place. She named it Otis, and it’s living in one of her pastures. The week before Otis visited us, we had a groundhog in our garage. But even Cavonna doesn’t know the best story about an animal showing up at our house, which happened 14 years ago… 

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Sermon 05/17/2020: “Offering to Others the Reason for Your Hope”

May 18, 2020

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:13-22

When I was young, I was not a graceful or confident swimmer. In fact, I didn’t learn to swim properly until I was in my 20s—when Lisa, my wife, taught me to swim. Until then, I was mostly a scaredy cat when it came to the water. 

So imagine how I felt, then, when, in 1988, I found out I got accepted into Georgia Tech. I was happy. I told a friend of mine at church, and the very first thing he said to me was this: “Oh… You’ll have to take drown-proofing. It’s a requirement for all male students. Goes back to World War II. And oh, by the way, if you don’t pass drown-proofing, you can’t graduate.” 

“What’s drown-proofing?” I asked… innocently. “Well… Let me put it this way: for the final exam, they tie your arms and legs together and throw you into the deep end of the pool. And if you don’t drown, you pass the class!” Suddenly, the prospect of going to Georgia Tech, which seemed hard enough already, now seemed like a death wish. I was reasonably certain I would not survive drown-proofing. 

“Don’t worry,” my friend said, “If you drown, they’ll award you your degree posthumously. They’ll give it to your parents.” Gee, thanks!

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Sermon 05/10/2020: “How to Suffer Well”

May 13, 2020

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:18-25

One of my Christian heroes—at least among Christians that I know in real life—is a man named Tracy Fleming. He’s the owner-operator of the Chick-fil-A in Lovejoy, Georgia, down on the southside of Atlanta, not far from where I pastored a church. I used to go to that Chick-fil-A every week to write my sermons. And I got to know Tracy. And I invited him to speak at our church. I don’t know how this current pandemic has changed what I’m about to describe, but over the course of many years, Tracy made a couple of trips to China each year, spending his own money, in order to train and equip Chinese Christians in some of China’s many underground churches. It was risky and potentially even life-threatening, because when he went there, he knew that he and his fellow Christians were under surveillance by the Chinese government. Tracy himself is half-Japanese—not that that endears him to the Chinese government! My point is, Tracy knew that when he went there, there was at least a small risk that he would never come back! But he went anyway! Because he loved Jesus that much!

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Sermon 05/03/2020: “Longing for the Pure Spiritual Milk of God’s Word”

May 13, 2020

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:1-10

Do you know the difference between dogs and cats during this pandemic? Dogs are happy because their best friends have finally quit their jobs in order to stay home and play with them all the time. Cats are happy because their servants are finally working for them all the time.

I love my cat and dogs. If we’ve learned anything about our dog Ringo over these past two months, it’s that he loves tennis balls. He absolutely can’t get enough of them. He simply never gets tired of having you throw a tennis ball in the yard for him. It’s his favorite thing in the world!

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