Posts Tagged ‘Chuck Colson’

Sermon 05-21-17: “Craving the Pure Milk of God’s Word”

June 20, 2017

In today’s scripture, the apostle Peter quotes from Isaiah 40: “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass…” We Christians are often distracted by things in our lives that don’t last. Yet Peter is calling us to build our lives on a foundation that which lasts for eternity: the gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s Word. How do we do this? That’s what this sermon is about.

Sermon Text: 1 Peter 1:22-2:3

One of my all-time favorite TV shows is Parks & Recreation, which features a character named Ron Swanson. In one episode, Ron gets taken to court. A couple of his friends who are called to testify on his behalf lie under oath—in order to protect their friend. Ron says, “Tom and April were excellent witnesses in my defense. Unfortunately every single word out of their mouths was a lie. There is only one thing I hate more than lying—skim milk, which is water that’s lying about being milk.”

My favorite character on my favorite TV show, Parks & Recreation: Ron Swanson. He’s famous for knowing how to be a man.

When did we all switch to skim milk? For my family, it was back in the early-’80s, when I was a kid. And I distinctly remember how, when I poured it over my Rice Krispies, it looked blue. Do you know what I’m talking about. I did not want to drink blue milk. Well, eventually I got used to it; and I bet many of you did, too. We got used to it because skim milk was supposed to be good for us.

Well, I read an article not long ago that said that we were sold a bill of goods. That long-term studies show that whole milk—milk that stays white when you pour it over cereal—might actually be better for you than skim milk, and help you lose weight more effectively than skim milk. For one thing, the article said, it helps you feel full, so you eat less.

I don’t know if that’s true or not, and I’m not recommending that you make the switch without consulting with your doctor, but that was just the excuse that I needed. So I switched back to whole milk. And I’m much happier. And my cat, too. He’s always at my feet at the breakfast table when I eat cereal. Because he loves whole milk and expects me to put the bowl on the floor when I finish up.

So, accept no substitutes: I don’t want water that’s lying about being milk; I won’t settle for watered-down milk; I want milk. Pure whole milk.

And in today’s scripture, Peter makes a similar point: Accept no substitutes, he says. “Long for,” or crave, “pure spiritual milk.” Don’t settle for anything less than that. Read the rest of this entry »

Sermon 01-31-16: “Born Again”

February 9, 2016

John Sermon Series Graphic

In Jesus conversation with Nicodemus, he uses a striking analogy from Numbers 21 to describe the way in which his own atoning death on the cross saves us from our sin. In this sermon, I explore the meaning of this analogy and its relationship to the new life that faith in Christ offers us.

Sermon Text: John 2:23-3:21

[To listen on the go, right-click on this link to download an MP3.]

Recently, as you might have heard, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg became a father for the first time. He and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, had a daughter, Max Chan Zuckerberg. And they’re off to a great start as parents. For one thing, Zuckerberg is taking two months off from his job as Facebook CEO. Two months! Of course, Facebook offers its employees four months of paid leave for parents of newborns. But still… Taking two months paid leave is a lot! Nearly half of all working men in America take less than one week off when they have a child. Fully 97 percent of men are back on the job within two weeks. So Zuckerberg is setting quite an example to fathers everywhere. After all, if I were a new dad, I would worry that I couldn’t afford to be away from work that long—even if I were getting paid, I would worry that it would harm my career, that I would fall too far behind, that other people would get ahead of me.

Like… If I’m away from work that long, and the company gets on fine without me, then maybe they’ll decide they don’t need me at all. I’m supposed to be indispensable. I’m supposed to be irreplaceable.


And yet here we have Mark Zuckerberg, of all people, proving to the world that being a dad is more important even than being a CEO of one of the world’s largest and most influential companies! It’s remarkable!

What’s even more remarkable is that, last December, he and his wife published a letter they wrote to their newborn daughter, telling her how they want to help create a better world for her and for everyone else’s children. To that end, they say they will donate 99 percent of their Facebook stock—valued at $45 billion—to fight hunger and poverty, to cure diseases, and to promote education around the world. The one percent of the $45 billion that they have left over is still a lot of money, of course, so they’ll do just fine.

But you gotta admit, of all the children born to any family anywhere in the world, Max Chan Zuckerberg could hardly have picked a better one, right? She has devoted, generous, compassionate, and incredibly wealthy parents. She is, by all objective standards, well-born.

But imagine that, when she gets older, Jesus comes to her and says, “You need to be born again. There was something wrong with your first birth. You need to belong to a new and different kind of family.” She might understandably be offended or indignant or confused. “What do you mean I need to be born again! I was born perfectly well—into the best family imaginable—the first time around!” Read the rest of this entry »