Friday, January 31, 2014

Sunday Preview -- February 2, 2014

I am always struck by the pleading of the father in Mark 9:24 whose son was demon-possessed. He comes to Jesus hoping that the Lord can heal his son. Jesus tells the man, "All things are possible to him who believes." The desperate father cries out, "I do believe! Help my unbelief!" Now, this man clearly has some level of belief. He brought his son some distance with the confidence that Jesus might be able to help them. But also note that this father realizes his belief is incomplete. He knows that whatever faith he has is not enough. Indeed, it is never enough. We ALL need more, deeper, and stronger faith in Jesus. The question is how do we get it? How do we grow our faith and how is faith generated in the first place? The next lesson in our Sunday morning series will shed light on this as we continue "The Sweet Sixteens Part Five: Faith Comes By Hearing (Romans 10:16-17)." Just as our faith may be incomplete, so too is our life outside of Christ. We need many things in order to feel fulfilled. How does Jesus (and Jesus alone) satisfy our greatest needs? Join us Sunday evening as we come to realize that we can only be "Complete in Christ (Colossians 1:28)." Hope to see you there!

In His service,
Rob Lester <9)))><

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sunday Preview -- January 26, 2014

Sunday morning we will continue in our series "Sweet Sixteens" with Part 4: "Calling on the Name of the Lord (Acts 22:16)." In that passage, a man named Ananias told Saul (who would later be known as the apostle Paul) that he needed to do this. What is involved and what is meant by this command? It is spoken of elsewhere in the New Testament by Paul himself in Romans 10:9-13 and also by the apostle Peter in Acts 2:21 where he was quoting from the Old Testament prophet Joel. Clearly this is important, so how does one go about obeying this command? We will try to reconcile these passages and see the full picture of what it means. Even more importantly, we will learn what it does NOT mean despite popular denominational teaching. Sunday evening we will study another aspect of Acts 22:16. Satan is a salesman. He's selling sin. He uses many common marketing tactics to accomplish his wicked goal. God does not need to resort to tricks and schemes to "sell" us on the truth. It speaks for itself. Together we will learn to watch out for some of the sneaky tricks of the devil. Join us and see why it is crucial to "Act Now! (Acts 22:16)."

In His service,
Rob Lester <9)))><

(Audio for these sermons can be found in the menu to the right ---------->)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Sunday Preview - January 19, 2014

We sometimes hear about an athlete or actor giving an "inspired" performance. This points to a power or ability which is so amazing that it seems to have come from another source. You can see the word "spirit" at play within the word. This "spirit" provides something more than is normally expected from a human being. In scripture, the word translated as inspiration actually means "God-breathed." This isn't just a poetic metaphor, but rather a vivid description. Divine inspiration is what sets the Bible apart from EVERY other book ever written. God is the Bible's author and He produced it through the hands and pens of men. How did He ensure its accuracy while still allowing for individual writing styles and expressions? Can we trust the Bible to accurately reveal the mind of God? Come find out Sunday morning as we continue our series "Sweet Sixteens: All Scripture is Inspired (2nd Timothy 3:16)." Sunday evening we will consider the concept of family. We will hope to answer the question "Who Is My Brother? (John 1:12-13)." Are we in the family of man or the family of God? Or both? What, if any, are our responsibilities to those family members? How do we get into the family of God? Join us as we sort through these questions. Hope to see you there!

A Humble God

Some people have a problem with God. They feel that He is arrogant, conceited, and will fly into a rage when any of His followers dares to give any attention to another so-called god. After all, the very first of the Ten Commandments is “You shall have no other gods before Me.” And the second goes right along with it about not worshiping idols and images. Is God really so insecure? These commands (and similar ones throughout the Bible) are not born out of insecurity. Rather, they are born out of His love. He knows that these other “gods” do not truly exist and can do nothing to benefit humanity. His jealousy is a natural result of His passionate love and concern for our well-being.

We refer to God as our “heavenly Father,” much like Jesus did. But the picture of God’s relationship to His chosen people is not of a parent but a husband. This metaphor is clearly (and painfully) seen in the minor prophet Hosea as well as in the New Testament (Ephesians 5:25; Revelation 19:7). The jealousy of God is that of a husband seeking to prevent His “wife” from giving herself to other lovers. He knows they will not love her as He does and will only harm and abuse her. God’s jealousy is not that of a celebrity seeking adoring fans. It is the reaction of a heartbroken husband whose beloved has abandoned Him for a womanizer.

Atheists claim that God is an egomaniac who craves and demands constant worship and praise to feed His insecurity. It is significant that nowhere in Scripture does God command praise. The call to praise comes from God’s grateful servants. In the Bible, it is those who have seen God’s worthiness of praise who call upon their fellow humans to offer it. God commands obedience and holiness, but He never commands us to feed His ego. Even these commands of obedience and holiness are not for His benefit, but for our well-being and happiness. The God of the universe seems only to be concerned about us, His beloved.

It seems a strange thing to call the Supreme Being in the universe “humble.” But God is indeed humble. Who would He need to impress? Whose approval does He need to seek? The humility of God is proven by His actions in the human world. The ultimate power in the universe took on a weak, frail, human body so that we might see His level of devotion for us. He was willing to die a shameful and horrifying death on a cross just to give us a chance at eternal life. What other “god” in history or mythology has humbled himself to such a degree? None. Let us praise the Lord who loves us so dearly. May the Lord shine upon you.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sunday Preview - January 12, 2014

The gospel is literally the "good news." It is the best news ever! The good news is that Jesus came to die for your sins and mine so we could be reconciled to God and experience the glory of heaven. The gospel tells us how this all came to be and what we must do to be saved--repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38). People today think there are many things that save in many ways. The truth is, only the message of the gospel tells one how to be forgiven of sins. Join us Sunday morning as we continue our series on the "Sweet Sixteens: Power Unto Salvation (Romans 1:16)." Sunday evening we will consider a question Jesus asked a crippled man in John 5:6 "Do You Wish to Get Well?" Today many people seem unaware that they are sick. Even more are unwilling to do what is necessary to be healed. Come answer that question for yourself Sunday night. Hope to see you there!