Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Advent Podcast Day 8: “Treasuring God’s Word”

December 10, 2017

From the first day of Advent until Christmas Day, I’m podcasting a daily devotional. You can listen by clicking on the playhead below.

Devotional Text: Luke 1:26-34

You can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

Advent Podcast Day 7: “The Lord Disciplines the One He Loves”

December 9, 2017

From the first day of Advent until Christmas Day, I’m podcasting a daily devotional. You can listen by clicking on the playhead below.

Devotional Text: Luke 1:18-23

You can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

Advent Podcast Day 6: “Our Pain and God’s Power”

December 8, 2017

From the first day of Advent until Christmas Day, I’m podcasting a daily devotional. You can listen by clicking on the playhead below.

Devotional Text: Luke 1:5-7, 13

You can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

Advent Podcast Day 5: “The Meaning of Christmas Is Easter”

December 7, 2017

From the first day of Advent until Christmas Day, I’m podcasting a daily devotional. You can listen by clicking on the playhead below.

Devotional Text: Genesis 22:1-13

You can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

Advent Podcast Day 4: “Jesus’ Family Tree”

December 6, 2017

From the first day of Advent until Christmas Day, I’m podcasting a daily devotional. You can listen by clicking on the playhead below.

Devotional Text: Matthew 1:1-17

You can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

Advent Podcast Day 3: “God with Us”

December 5, 2017

From the first day of Advent until Christmas Day, I’m podcasting a daily devotional. You can listen by clicking on the playhead below.

Devotional Text: Matthew 1:17-20

You can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

Advent Podcast Day 2: “Humanity’s Biggest Problem”

December 4, 2017

From the first day of Advent until Christmas Day, I’m podcasting a daily devotional. You can listen by clicking on the playhead below.

Devotional Text: Romans 7:15, 18-19, 24-25

You can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

Advent Podcast Day 1: “The Bible’s Sneak Preview of Christmas”

December 3, 2017

From the first day of Advent until Christmas Day, I’m podcasting a daily devotional. You can listen by clicking on the playhead below.

Devotional Text: Genesis 3:1-7, 15

You can subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

On Philippians and finances

November 30, 2017

I wrote the following article for my church’s weekly email blast. 

Two weeks ago, I preached on Philippians 3:2-14, including Paul’s words in verse 8: “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ…” In the sermon I challenged us to consider ways that we’re not like Paul: While we have many opportunities to prove that everything is a “loss” compared to the “surpassing worth” of knowing Christ, too often we show that we treasure other things and other people more than him.

One obvious way we do this is by failing to tithe—that is, to give ten percent of our income to the Lord through the local church. This is a biblical standard for giving. As I said in my sermon,

If I fail to give ten percent of my income—a tithe—to the church, yet go to the movies when I want, and have all the data for my smartphone that I want, and have all the clothes that I want, and eat at Chick-fil-A as often as I want, how am I showing that money and possessions are a loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ?

Brothers and sisters, if this describes you, I’m inviting you to change. Even more, I believe the Lord Jesus himself is calling you to change.

While none of us would question the need for Christians to pray, to worship, to give time and energy to serve Jesus, and to read and meditate on God’s Word, too many of us have come to regard financial stewardship—giving money to church—as an optional extra feature of faithful Christian living.

We give, but only if and when we perceive we can afford to give.

Yet the clear message from scripture is this: we can never afford not to give! It’s as necessary for our souls as prayer!

Paul himself makes this point in Philippians 4:14-20. In this passage, he thanks the Philippians for their generous financial support of him while he’s in prison. (In the first century, prisoners literally had to pay for their own room and board!) But he wants to make clear that he doesn’t need the money. As he’s already told them, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content… In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (vv. 11b-13).

What Paul wants, he says, is not their money; he wants a “profit that accumulates in your account” (CEB). He’s no longer talking about money. He’s talking about a spiritual profit in their heavenly account—blessings that God will give them because they have been generous in their financial giving. However this “profit” manifests itself in their lives—whether on this side of heaven or the other—it’s far better than anything they can purchase with money.

Not only that: As they give generously, Paul promises that “my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (v. 19 ESV).

The same is true for each of us who believes in Jesus Christ. As we submit our bank accounts to the lordship of Christ, God is faithful to supply our every need and to bless us spiritually. I can testify from personal experience that this is true. And I know many of you can, too. We have learned from experience that God is faithful as we give faithfully to him.

And starting this Sunday, on Stewardship Commitment Sunday, I want the rest of you to learn this as well.

I want you to commit to tithing. If you believe you can’t do that, I want you to take a definite step in that direction. Can you commit to eight percent? Six percent? If you’re already tithing, prayerfully consider whether our Lord wants you to give more than a tithe.

Whatever your decision, I want every church member and regular attender to fill out the Estimate of Giving card that you received last month. We will also have extra copies printed out on Sunday.

Sermon 11-26-17: “Rejoice in the Lord Always”

November 30, 2017

Paul writes, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Does “always” really mean always? If so, I suspect most of us struggle to obey these words. Our main problem, as I point in this sermon, is that we usually rejoice in our circumstances: “I got the job, therefore I rejoice!” “She said ‘yes,’ therefore I rejoice!” “The tests came back negative, therefore I rejoice!” But notice Paul says to rejoice in the Lord. If we are in the Lord, we always have reasons for joy.

Sermon Text: Philippians 4:4-13

My sermons are now being podcast! My podcast is available in iTunes, Google Play, and Stitcher.

The family and I went to my in-laws house in Snellville on Thanksgiving. After the meal, I stayed awake watching football as long as I could—without being rude—before creeping back to the spare bedroom and taking a nap. When I woke up, everyone—my entire family and my in-laws—were no longer watching football. They were watching a movie on the Hallmark Channel. Maybe you’ve seen it? It was that one about this man and woman who meet but don’t get along at first. In fact, they don’t even like each other. But over time they start to secretly fall for one another. But they can’t tell each other, because there are all these obstacles that stand in the way of their relationship. And then, at the very end of the movie, all the obstacles are removed. They finally say, “I love you.” They kiss. And it’s clear they’re going to live happily ever after.

Have you seen that one?

Actually, this one was almost exactly like You’ve Got Mail except it was set at Christmastime. At the end of the movie, the woman gets everything she wants, including a big promotion at work, the perfect Christmas gift, and the man of her dreams. So of course she is deeply happy! She has reason to rejoice! If she got passed over for the promotion; if she lost her job; if her Christmas wishes went unfulfilled; if she didn’t end up with Romeo, well… she would be not be rejoicing. And we the viewers would not be rejoicing.

Because our ability to rejoice depends on… how things turn out. We need the “happily ever after,” or something reasonably close to it, in order to experience joy. That’s because we rejoice in our circumstances—when you get the promotion, when you fall in love, when your dreams come true. If the circumstances are bad, not so much.

Yet notice Paul’s words here in verse 4: “Rejoice in the Lord”—when? “Always.” And as if that weren’t clear enough he repeats it: “Again I will say, rejoice.” Read the rest of this entry »