Category Archives: Sermons

Passover

passover lambWhile I know that I’m a week late, I figure I would go ahead and post these notes about the Passover. They were originally written for a sermon on Palm Sunday, before the Passover festival. However, Jesus changed the church’s plan that day and we simply worship Him all morning, skipping the sermon in lue of enjoying His presence.

I did, however, use the notes this past Sunday on Easter – granted I shifted things a bit to focus on the high cost of sin. Namely, that sin leads to death and should not be taken lightly. Sadly we don’t have a sound recording of this sermon as the computer decided to reboot during the sermon stopping the recording… =(

Passover

•    So what is Passover?

o    It is a festival held each year to remember how the Lord God delivered His people out of slavery
o    The term can also refer to the Seder dinner held during the festival

*    This dinner is full of symbolism reminding people of God’s deliverance while also pointing toward Jesus

•    Background (Exodus 12:1-30)

o    The people of Israel had been living in Egypt for 400 years
o    At first they were free citizens, but somewhere along the line their entire people were enslaved
o    80-years prior to the Passover, the Pharaoh or ruler of Egypt got scared and set about killing all male toddlers and babies.

*    Very few boys survived this time
*    Moses was one of them

•    Moses

o    Moses grow in Pharaoh’s house due to an act of God
o    At 40-years old he goes into exile, becoming a shepherd on the edge of the Egyptian empire
o    Another 40 years pass until Moses, now 80 years old, finds himself standing before a burning bush
o    God tells him to go back to Egypt as He was going to bring freedom to His people

•    Ten Plagues

o    When Moses first returned to Egypt, the people of Israel were happy to hear about God’s plan
o    However they soon got tired of Moses and God’s plan for freedom

*    It was tough
*    Yes, they say some amazing miracles – plagues of frogs, flies, hail and the like
*    Some of these plagues only touched the Egyptians!!!

o     Yet in the middle of everything, Pharaoh had them working harder and harder

*    The plagues happened over a period of time – a year or so

Continue reading Passover

How is your calling?

PAChurch•    Three weeks ago we started off a period of self-examination

o    A time were we could ask questions about different parts of our life
o    A time to stop and see what Jesus was doing around us

•    The first week was focused on our soul

o    How are we personally?
o    Are we actively pursuing an intimate relationship with Jesus?
o    Are there things slowing us down or stopping our relationship with God?

•    From there we asked how was our family?

o    Are we actively pursuing Jesus as a family unit?
o    Are we helping each family member to grow closer to Jesus?
o    Are we hindering this process in any way?

•    The third question was how is our work?

o    Are we doing everything for Jesus?
o    Have we separated our walk with Jesus from our daily work?
o    What is Jesus doing at our works? Around and through us?

•    All simple questions with powerful answers

o    They all lead from one to another
o    You cannot see God in our family if your soul is not right with God
o    You cannot see Jesus move in our work if your family and soul are in chaos

•    Today we are building upon all of the questions

o    We are asking, “how is our calling?”

(audio file of sermon can be found on the PRV website)

“Calling” Defined

•    A lot of times in our Christian circles we use the term “calling” to refer to folks who have joined the ranks of full time ministry

o    Missionaries and pastors receive a “calling
o    Most other folks do not

•    Other times we use the term when trying to figure out what unique thing we are to do in our lives

o    What is my calling?
o    How am I different than everyone else?

•    I’m not convinced that either one of these usages are correct….

Continue reading How is your calling?

How Is Your Work?

josh preachingThe Beginning of Work

•    Right after God creates man and women, He blesses them and gives them two commandments (Genesis 1:28)

o    “Be fruitful and increase in number”
o    “fill the earth and subdue it”
o    Family and work

•    Contrary to the thoughts of some, work is good
•    Humanity was created to be active – doing something

(audio file of sermon can be found here)

Influence Through One’s Work Life

•    It doesn’t matter what type of work you do

o    Housewife
o    Salesperson
o    Restaurant employee
o    Student
o    Farmer
o    Construction
o    Desk-jockey
o    Volunteer (food pantry, clothing closet)

•    Each one of use is doing something – some kind of work
•    And each one of use has an opportunity through our work life to bless people and share the message of the Kingdom to them

Don’t like work

•    I know that there are some people who hate their jobs

o    It drains them and is a pain
o    They do it because they need to eat

•    The truth is that each of us much work to live

Working for God

•    No matter if we like or hate our jobs, we are to work as unto Jesus

o    Colossians 3:15-17

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Continue reading How Is Your Work?

How Is Your Family?

Worship in the park emaily jadon joshIntroduction

•    How are you all doing?

o    How is your soul?

•    Did you all find value in this week’s study?
•    I pray that you all took the time to sit and be still before the Lord this week as it is incredibly  important for us to seek out Jesus with everything we are

(Audio file of sermon can be found here)

How is our family?

•    This week we are talking about our family
•    Family is extremely important

o    Every culture and people group on the planet, throughout time has valued their family relationship
o    Genesis 2:18,20b-22 – the first family was Adam and Eve

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”… But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took part of the man’s side and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the part he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

*    God told them to multiple and increase in number – let the earth be full of humans (Genesis 1:28)

•    Sadly the family structure and relationship are under attack in our culture

o    It is the “norm” for both parents to work, leaving the day-care workers to raise their child
o    It is the “norm” for the parents to be divorced, split or simply not married
o    It is the “norm” for parents emotionally and spiritual absent from the family – even if they are physical present.
o    It is the “norm” for the children to grow up and move away from their hometown – creating distances between them, their children and grandparents

•    In the midst of all this, Jesus is calling His followers to be different

o    To have strong family relationships
o    To have lasting relationships that are built upon Him, not force, fear or control
o    To have a family in which the priority is not how much money one has or what stuff one has or what events one does…

*    But one in which the priority is focused around Jesus
*    Focused around being around each other and helping each other follow Jesus

Continue reading How Is Your Family?

How Is Your Soul?

how-is-your-soulExamining our lives

*    Socrates famously said, “The unexamining life is not worth living”
*    Before that, King Solomon wrote an entire book about examining one’s life – Ecclesiastes
*    Years later St. Paul encouraged believers to examine themselves: Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.” – 2 Corinthians 13:5a
*    Sadly, we rarely do this

o    Instead we tend to think that our lives will take care of themselves
o    We just live – going from one day to the next

Introduction to the series

•    We are going to take a break from our study of the life of Jesus
•    Last month I had asked you all to read through 1 Peter
•    Not long after I did that, Vineyard USA released a small booklet about spiritual renewal

o    As I looked at both of these items, something begin to come together
o    At first I was going to wait until Lent as I think there is something powerful about corporate fasting and preparation for Easter

•    Yet the Lord said to do this now, so here we are
•    This is how this series is going to work

o    We are going to be looking at four questions

1.    How Is Your Soul? Examine your life; ask the questions of the heart.
2.   How Is Your Family? Your first church; how can you tend carefully to their needs?
3.    How Is Your Work? We work to give; how do we carry Christ into our work?
4.    How Is Your Calling? Join God’s future; what is your part in God’s mission?

o    Corporately, we will be looking at these four questions through the words of 1 Peter
o    Individually there will be four-weeks of daily devotions focused on these questions to help give our attention to our intimacy with Jesus through the wear and tear of life.

Working at our relationship with Jesus

*    Relationship take work; good ones take even more
*    Think about it

o    Best Friends – a lot of us have acquaintances or nominal friends – folks we know but really don’t hang out with

*    BEST friends, however, are ones that we hang out with – talk too and live life with
*    It takes work to keep a best friendship up as it means spending time with them

o    Marriage – the same thing is true between spouses

*    While some folks may think that you only have to say “I love you” once every 20 years, research around the world proves that you need to say it once or more a day
*    It takes time and energy to keep a marriage strong

o    Family – the same is true with family in general

*    If we don’t talk too or think about our family – brothers, sisters, parents, etc
*    We lose touch with them and our relationship suffers

Continue reading How Is Your Soul?

Upside-Down Kingdom

i-get-it_2Public Reading: Luke 16:1-17:10

Sermon

•    Last week we talked about God’s unconditional love

o    Parable of the lost son
o    Both sons failed to realize that the Father’s love was not based upon what they did or did not do
o    The father loved them because they were his sons, nothing more and nothing less

•    This week we are continuing Jesus teaching

o    Chapter 15 through 17:10 is all one deal

•    After telling the Pharisees three stories – the lost sheep, coin and son
•    Jesus turns to his disciples and tells them a story of a shrewd manager (vs 16:1)

Shrewd Manger

•    A land owner fires his manager after learning that this manager was dishonest
•    The manager, instead of giving up the books and leaving at once, calls his master’s debtors and gives them a huge discounts
•    When the master finds out about this, he is shocked – and while not agreeing with the way in which things happened, he does praise the shrewdness of the manager

o    As he, the manager had figured out an ingenious plan to make friends and hopefully keep his job
o    Why? Well, the entire community in which the master lived was rejoicing over the generosity of the master – to fire the manger now would be a dishonor to the town

•    Verse 9 highlights this

“And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.”

•    This is totally upside down!!!

o    Most folks in this world are concerned about money for money’s sake
o    For what they can buy or do or the honor they can get in this live
o    This is why the religious leaders made fun at Jesus when they heard these things!! (verse 14)

Continue reading Upside-Down Kingdom

The Great Banquet

the great banquet everything is readyI found this old sermon saved in the drafts today and thought I would post it.  The audio file of the sermon is located here on the PRV website. Blessings.

Passage: Luke 14:1-24

The Story

•    Jesus dines at the house of a Pharisees

o    While there he heals a man
o    Some folks got made because it was on the Sabbath

•    Jesus then tells two short parables

o    First to the guest of the dinner
o    The second to the host

•    First one

o    Place of honor

*    Don’t pick the place of honor
*    Let the host bring you up

o    Commentary

*    Not only is this practical advice on life, it is very important spiritually
*    The guests in the room were most likely big time religious leaders who wanted the best seats for themselves
*    Jesus is telling them that they are to the humble

•    Let God (the host) raise them up
•    2 Peter 5:5b-7 – God cares about, be kind to each other and humble
•    James 4:1-10 – submit ourselves to God, be a peacemaker

•    Second story

o    Part one

*    Turning to the host, Jesus tells him not to just throw a party for those who can pay you back

•    Invite the folks who can’t repay you

*    Again this is very practical as well as spiritual

•    Instead of being focused on what we can get out of things, we need to be concerned with others

Continue reading The Great Banquet

God’s Unconditional Love

Public Reading: Luke 15:1-32

Sermon Introduction:

•    Three Parables; One Message

o    God’s unconditional love

•    A lot of times these three are treated separated

o    Especially the prodigal son

•    Yet they are really all connected to each other

o    As is Luke 16 and the first ten verses of Luke 17
o    Today we are going to focus on the three parables
o    Next week we will cover Luke 16 through Luke 17:10

•    Now before we dive into the first parable, let us look at the setting

o    Luke 15:1-2

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

o    Jesus was drawing the wrong kinds of people to himself.
o    The religious leaders may have been more hospitable or open to his message if only he would be harder on those who didn’t obey the rules
o    Their primary debate with Jesus that he received sinners and ate with them – granting them grace instead of punishment.
o    And in response to this grumbling, Jesus told these stories:

Parable One: Lost Sheep

•    What man among you would not leave your 99 sheep in the open country and go and find the lost?
•    How much more does heaven rejoices over one sinner repenting than 99 who needs no repentance?

Parable Two: Lost Coin

•    What women among you, having 10 coins and losing one, will not light a lamp and search for the lost coin?
•    How much more does the angels of God rejoices over one sinner who repents?

Continue reading God’s Unconditional Love

Giving Up Control To Jesus

Public Reading: Luke 18:25-35

The Story:

•    Hard teaching

o    You have to love Jesus more than anything
o    More than family, friends and even life itself

•    This passage has two audience

o    New believers need to know what they are getting into – they need to count the cost
o    Current disciples – daily pick up cross and follow Jesus (Lk 9:23)

•    Focus today is on the second audience

o    It is about control

•    Throughout history, humans have always wanted some type of control

o    The act of being able to make a decision about your life
o    What to eat, drink…how to dress…where to live…
o    Wars have been fought over this issue…
o    In the USA, we hang so tight to our “rights” that I think the rights take over and start control us…

•    Control can be both a good and a bad thing

o    After all the Bible clearly teaches that self-control is a good thing – Gal 5, fruits of the Spirit
o    Yet control is bad in the sense that it can keep us from following Jesus.

•    Jesus said in verse 27, “whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

o    Remember at this point the cross was a instrument of death
o    It was not something nice to wear around your neck or post on your wall
o    Jesus is telling folks that they have to die to follow him
o    They must give up everything – give up control of their lives to follow Him

“Those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” –Luke 14:33

Continue reading Giving Up Control To Jesus

God Sees Us

If you all are like me, you all are still searching and asking questions about the events that shocked our nation on Friday [the Newtown school shooting]. Why did so many young children have to die? Why did that man do that? You search the news articles and listen to the TV or radio, hoping to find something that will put you at ease…something that will make the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fit together…

Yet sadly I don’t think the pieces will ever be put back together properly….

Well, not by us.

You see, we are at war with evil. This is not a metaphor or a churchy saying designed to create emotions. This is reality. We are at war.

The forces of darkness and Satan are playing twisted games with humanity – clouding their minds and darkening theirs souls.

St. Paul puts it this way in Romans 1:21, 28-32

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened… 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

This is why a 20-year old man gets to where he can walking into an elementary school and start shooting…this is why a parent can kill their own children…why people can steal babies, little boys and girls and sale them into slavery to be raped over and over and over again…this is why people can teach a six year old to kill and murder as is happening across Africa and the Middle East.

Christians feel as though this darkness is why people lie and cheat at work…why they look at porn sites like https://www.hdsexvideo.xxx/ so regularly or have one night stands…why they foster hatred and bitterness, forgiving no one, but always seeking revenge…this is why families are torn apart and people – men, women, adults, teenagers, kids – cry themselves to sleep…

It is a grim picture…one full of death, pain, heart-ache and darkness…

Yet it is into this darkness – into this life of pain and death and destruction and murder and lies and greed and evil that God stepped into – fully into. He didn’t keep one foot clean while dipping His toes into the water. He took upon himself the very nature of humanity – he experienced the pain of betrayal, the string of a fist, the hurtful words of friend…he was born amidst the cries of a massacre as all the young boys born near his birthplace was killed…murdered at the hand of a mad man…. Yet, throughout the cries of sorrow and hurt, God was there! He did not leave; he did not go back up into heaven. He walked with us; he stood by our side and joined with our pain and sorrow…why?

Continue reading God Sees Us