Nov 29, 2015
Counterfeit gods
Series: (All)
GivingThe idol of success cannot be just expelled, it must be replaced. The human heart’s desire for a particular valuable object may be conquered, but its need to have some such object is unconquerable. Only when we see what Jesus, our great Suffering Servant, has done for us will we finally understand that we must not fear, love and trust anything more than God.  What breaks the power of any idol over us is not a redoubled effort to try harder, but a deepening understanding of how complete Christ's Lordship over us is.
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  • Nov 29, 2015Counterfeit gods
    Nov 29, 2015
    Counterfeit gods
    Series: (All)
    GivingThe idol of success cannot be just expelled, it must be replaced. The human heart’s desire for a particular valuable object may be conquered, but its need to have some such object is unconquerable. Only when we see what Jesus, our great Suffering Servant, has done for us will we finally understand that we must not fear, love and trust anything more than God.  What breaks the power of any idol over us is not a redoubled effort to try harder, but a deepening understanding of how complete Christ's Lordship over us is.
  • Nov 22, 2015The End of Time
    Nov 22, 2015
    The End of Time
    Under Construction (2)Had any good vacations recently?  Most likely you enjoyed comfortable accommodations, good food and a nice mix of relaxation and entertainment.  Vacations are a time of “suspended stress.”  During them, we take a moment and leave the struggles of life behind – the bills, the work and the burdens of our life.  But then the vacation ends.  You get home, and it all starts over again.  As we end our study of The Story today, we see what God has in store for us … and it is good!  We learn as we view the Revelation of St. John that God’s plan for us is like a reverse vacation – we have no bills, no stress, and no sin for the rest of eternity… talk about “suspended stress!” When Christ returns he will make all things right!  So call on His name, and make your reservation.  
  • Nov 15, 2015Paul’s Final Days
    Nov 15, 2015
    Paul’s Final Days
    Under Construction (2)The Apostle Paul knew his share of suffering, but he did not shrink back from his calling.  He traveled over much of the known world of his day, but he didn't travel for sightseeing.  No, he endured much for the sake of spreading the Gospel.  His own account of his hardships included floggings, lashings, beatings with rods, pelting with stones, shipwrecks, dangers from rivers, bandits, Jews and Gentiles, danger in the city and in the country, danger at sea and from false believers. He knew hard labor, lack of sleep, hunger, thirst, cold and nakedness (2 Cor. 11:23-29).  He was eventually martyred for his faith, but his ministry carries on much beyond his earthly lifeill yours?
  • Nov 8, 2015Paul’s Mission
    Nov 8, 2015
    Paul’s Mission
    Under Construction (2)Would you choose what one first century writer describes as a “Bald-headed, bowlegged, strongly built man, small in size, with meeting eyebrows, and a rather large nose" who had been pulling Christians from their houses, throwing them into prison and even killing some, as the spokesman for Jesus?  Probably not. Yet that’s what Jesus did when He chose Paul (Saul of Tarsus) to be His representative.  Jesus had a face to face meeting with Paul and then sent Him to share the Gospel first with the Jews, then with the Gentiles.  And it worked!  Most of us would not know Christ had Paul not traveled far and wide telling others about Him. Today, we are to continue the work of evangelizing the world that Paul and Jesus' disciples began.
  • Oct 25, 2015New Beginnings
    Oct 25, 2015
    New Beginnings
    Under Construction (2)When children go missing, parents go looking. And that’s what God has done. There’s not a square foot on earth that doesn’t have his footprints. He began searching for them the moment Adam and Eve made a choice and lost their way. He sent the nation of Israel looking. He sent his Son to “seek and save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). Today He sends His Church. In Acts 1:8 we find His search and rescue plan: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  The Church has been growing ever since.
  • Oct 18, 2015The Resurrection
    Oct 18, 2015
    The Resurrection

    TheManwiththePlan (2)Jesus’ resurrection means for each of us that our death, while certain is not permanent. The resurrection of Jesus shows us our own. The resurrection of Jesus is central to God’s upper and lower story.

  • Oct 11, 2015The Hour of Darkness
    Oct 11, 2015
    The Hour of Darkness
    TheManwiththePlan (2)In what is called “THE DARKEST HOUR” (Chapter 26) of THE STORY, Jesus by His Death made entrance into Eternal Life with His sinless blood for all who believe in Him. In the Gospel lesson this morning a rich young ruler asks Jesus a question to which everyone wants the answer. “Good Teacher what must I do to inherit eternal life?” We learn from Jesus’ reply and answer that He alone is the ONE who has done the GOOD DEED that provides the inheritance to eternal life for all who follow Him in faith. It is only by faith in Christ that good deeds endure eternally.
  • Oct 4, 2015Jesus: The Son of God
    Oct 4, 2015
    Jesus: The Son of God
    TheManwiththePlan (2)“Who do you say I am?” It was the most important question, Peter ever answered. People did not know what to make of this Jesus. He was like no other rabbi. 2000 years had passed since the covenant God made with Abraham. God promised that through Abraham all nations would be blessed. Now, in Jesus, God’s marathon plan of redemption was sprinting toward its climax. Peter’s answer to the question, changed His life forever. This morning, the question is posed to us.
  • Sep 27, 2015No Ordinary Man
    Sep 27, 2015
    No Ordinary Man
    TheManwiththePlan (2)One thing about this Jesus: He never invited neutrality. His followers called Him the Christ. His contenders called Him a blasphemer. Some were drawn to Him, while others could muster nothing in His presence but contempt. His teachings were revolutionary and His miracles undeniable. He claimed nothing less than equality with God and proclaimed Himself as the long expected Messiah. Jesus never left “sitting on the fence” as an option, nor does He today. His Name is still a stumbling block and an offense…. And yet, His is the only Name that saves. How one receives Jesus is a matter of eternal significance!
  • Sep 20, 2015Jesus’ Ministry Begins
    Sep 20, 2015
    Jesus’ Ministry Begins
    TheManwiththePlan (2)When we see professionals who accomplish outstanding athletic plays we often say, “Who is that guy?” or “How can she do something like that?” When Jesus Christ came into public ministry, people made these kinds of statements: “Who is this?” “How can he have such wisdom?” “How can he do that?” “… and by what authority?” Jesus often didn’t go into a lot of explanation about His miracles, but let His actions and wisdom speak for themselves.
  • Sep 13, 2015The Birth of the King
    Sep 13, 2015
    The Birth of the King
    TheManwiththePlan (2)Heaven had been very quiet for 400 years. No burning bushes. No parting seas. No visions or dreams reported by prophets. No message from God…just silence. Then, in a magnificent yet inauspicious way, God broke the silence, but not just by speaking a word – but by sending THE WORD … His Son, to take on flesh and blood. His birth was unspectacular, yet His presence dispelled darkness and cast an inescapable ray of light across history. God’s promises to Abraham and David had found fulfillment at long last. In a way that only God can, He planned the birth of Jesus to perfectly fulfill the promises He made to the world through His Nation, Israel. Today we celebrate the birth of the True King of Heaven and the coming of our Savior. He is the focal point of The Story.
  • Sep 6, 2015Rebuilding the Walls
    Sep 6, 2015
    Rebuilding the Walls
    GodisSpeakingDSOur story today opens nearly 60 years after Zerubbabel led 43,000 exiles carrying temple treasures, gold and silver back to Judah to rebuild the temple, and 15 years after Esther saved the Jews. As at all times in history, some people had hearts fully set on God, and some didn’t – including, and even, those Jews who returned to Jerusalem. So God sent three people with very different gifts to help and strengthen those in the Persian province of Judah who wanted to know Him. Ezra taught, Nehemiah built, and Malachi exhorted. In all cases, God responded.
  • Aug 30, 2015The Queen of Beauty and Courage
    Aug 30, 2015
    The Queen of Beauty and Courage
    GodisSpeakingDSIn Las Vegas you can roll “lucky sevens,” or you can also lose it all. You can win a massive windfall or experience colossal disaster. It all seems like coincidence, just the roll of the dice. In the Book of Esther, it seems like the destiny of the Jews is subject to the roll of the dice. But we discover that even though His name is not mentioned in the whole Book of Esther, God is working behind the scenes to fulfill His grand, saving purpose. Knowing this, we can take heart believing that even when God seems distant, unconcerned, or even absent in our lives, He is still at work. God is always working!
  • Aug 23, 2015The Return Home
    Aug 23, 2015
    The Return Home
    GodisSpeakingDSDo you know the feeling of getting back home after an extended time away – either for work or vacation, it doesn’t matter - the feeling is the same! It is so good to get back to your comfortable surroundings with familiar things. Even the not-so-nice things like loose doorknobs, squeaky stairs and weeds in the garden comfort you. The Bible tells of a number of “homecomings.” The prodigal son, the adulterous woman, and the people of Israel know this feeling of coming back home. So do we. Today in The Story, we see the people of Israel are invited back to their home in the Promise Land by God. When they get there, they see the nice things of home, but they also see a not-so-nice thing: There is no temple in Jerusalem. Their exile isn’t over yet. No homecoming is complete without the presence of God.
  • Aug 16, 2015Daniel in Exile
    Aug 16, 2015
    Daniel in Exile
    GodisSpeakingDSEarlier in the Old Testament, we read about Joseph, one of Jacob’s twelve sons who was sold into slavery (by his own brothers!) and became a prisoner in a foreign land. Far from home, with no one he knew that would see or critique him, Joseph led a life of staggering integrity. Fast forward to Daniel and three other young men from Judah who have been exiled in the capital city of their sworn enemies and captors. They were in a place where “no one was looking.” They could compromise and cut corners and no one would ever know … except God. Our culture invites and encourages us to compromise too, but like Daniel living in exile, we live by a higher authority.