Archive for May, 2021

Sermon 05-23-2021: “Waiting for the Holy Spirit to Show Up”

May 26, 2021

Scripture: Acts 2:1-21

When I was 16 years old, I had a job bagging groceries at Kroger. I was just a Baptist kid growing up, like most of my friends. But I met someone who worked at Kroger, his name was Elbert, who was a Pentecostal Christian—the first one I’d ever met. And we hit it off immediately, because we both clearly loved Jesus; we both were on fire for Jesus; we both wanted to tell other people about Jesus. You know that spark you sometimes feel when you meet another believer? I had that! 

Anyway, one day, when we were on break together, he asked me if I had ever spoken in tongues. I said “no.” He said, “Oh! So you haven’t yet received the Holy Spirit.” 

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Sermon 05-16-2021: “Let the Word and Spirit Abide in You”

May 19, 2021

Scripture: 1 John 2:18-27

A few weeks ago, I noticed for the first time a beautiful hutch, near the sanctuary, displaying Bibles, antique books, and mementos related to our church and its history. Inside this hutch, next to a 1914 edition of the Methodist Book of Discipline, was this particular book: Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, copyright 1906.

Maybe that title by itself doesn’t mean anything to you, but suppose I told you it was written by Mary Baker Eddy?

For some of you, that raises a red flag. Baker Eddy is the founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, or Christian Science church. So this is literature that is published, quite literally, by a cult—part of what’s called the “New Thought” movement of the late-nineteenth century. 

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Sermon 05-09-2021: “Even Little Children Can Defeat the Devil”

May 10, 2021

Scripture: 1 John 2:12-17

Years ago, I attended an important work-related conference. I knew the keynote speaker pretty well, and—to say the least—I was not looking forward to it. She was not a great speaker, and I did not think that what she had to say would prove helpful to me. And as she was talking, I did what many of us do in meetings, I got on my phone. Except it was a Blackberry, to give you an idea how long ago this was. But I texted Lisa. I said, “So-and-so is speaking. It’s actually not as horrible as I thought it would be.” And I pressed the “send” button.

Only… I realized that I didn’t send the message to Lisa, my beloved wife with whom all my conversations are “privileged,” as they say on all the cop shows. No… I accidentally sent the message to the person who was speaking at the conference!

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Sermon 05-02-2021: “How to Know That You Know”

May 4, 2021

Scripture: 1 John 2:3-11

I’ve shared some of this before, but last summer a team of us from Toccoa First went into the community over the course of several weekends and deliberately shared the gospel with people—with strangers—people who were attending the summer music festival in town. We handed out information about the church as well as gospel tracts. And most importantly, we had meaningful conversations about Jesus and the gospel with at least three dozen people. Most of those three dozen or so said they were Christians, but… of those who said that, only a few expressed confidence that they would go to heaven when they die—and when we asked follow-up questions, they told us that they hoped that they were “good enough” to earn a place in heaven.

And I know from research that this isn’t only true in Toccoa, Georgia; this is true all over our nation—in big cities and small towns. We have a crisis of people who say they’re Christians, most of whom don’t go to church, yet who believe that the basis on which they’ll receive eternal life is their own personal goodness.

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