sin

Embrace Good Words

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:16,17 Today I want to continue yesterday’s discussion on how words can contribute to designing our lives. Our strategy is to incorporate the teachings of Jesus as an anchor for our daily thoughts and actions. I want you to consider again the world we live in and how at times it is immersed in chaotic and harmful words. Whether you are driving on the way home or watching television, all those advertisements that you see are saying buy me, indulge in me, visit me, eat me, or vote for me. All of it seems to be all in one string. Almost all of these negative infiltrations make the same false promise

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Jesus is the Solution

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.” – Titus 2:11 Yesterday we talked about how a Kingdom worldview addresses the problem of sin and shame in the world. Today, I want to discuss the fourth and final question a worldview must answer (and it’s the most important of all): “What’s the solution?“ Quite simply, the cross and resurrection of Jesus are the only true answer to the problem of sin, wickedness, guilt, and shame on the earth. The grace, or favor, that comes to us because we are seen through the Father’s eyes (in the same way He sees Jesus) has the power to break chains and set us free eternally! When Jesus went to the cross, He took every sin you’ve ever committed — past, present, and future — upon Himself, and it was nailed there, never to emerge again. When He died,

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What’s the Problem?

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” – Isaiah 59:2 Yesterday we answered the question, “Where am I?” as it pertains to having a Kingdom worldview. Today, we are going to discuss the third of four essential questions that a worldview seeks to answer: “What’s the problem?” As much as we live and move in a spiritual world where nothing is impossible, we’re cut off by sin and shame, so we can’t fully realize our potential. We sin, and then we feel shame, and then we feel separated from each other, so we sin more and feel even more guilt. We get hurt by one another, and pride gets in our way, so we refuse to have mercy, grace, and forgiveness toward others, which makes it harder for us to come to the Lord. 

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Run the Race

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” – Hebrews 12:1b I want to continue examining the text found in Hebrews Chapter 12. Let’s focus on the message of running a race! The author encourages us: “…let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” What a different, yet positive view of sin.  The message is to look at and describe sin not as something you wallow in and have a major pity party over, but to see it as something that entangles you. Unfortunately, our lives can become full of bitterness towards our neighbor; unforgiveness, gossip, greed and hoarding, to name a

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Dining at the Table with Jesus

“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’” – Luke 15:1,2 Last month I did a sermon on Jesus’ Eating Ministry. Today, I want to explore that further. Did you know that Jesus was less fond of religious people than He was those who lived completely immoral lives? In fact, He preached more often to the pastors of His day (aka the Pharisees) about hell and condemnation than He ever did to the sinners. Our Lord loves the broken, downtrodden, and the hurting. He wants to show them what it looks like to live in His Kingdom.  One of the boldest things Jesus ever did was to sit down and eat with tax collectors and sinners, because in His day, to eat with a person was to

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The Heart of the Prodigal Father

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” – Luke 15:22-24 Do you know what the word prodigal means? I grew up thinking it meant sinful because of The Prodigal Son parable in the Bible, but it doesn’t. It means either overly generous or wasteful in your spending. Today we will look at the parable in the Bible we label The Prodigal Son, but call it The Prodigal Father instead. In this story, there’s a father of two sons whose land has been in the family for a hundred years. The younger son is the

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No Sting in Death!

“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” – 2 Corinthians 5:1 There is a lot of good news that comes from being a believer! If you are baptized, besides partaking of Christ’s goodness here on earth, when you die, you won’t have to taste death. For Christians, death is more like waking up than it is falling asleep. This is one of the most profound gifts from God.  Among the most potentially debilitating fears in this life is death. There is an underlying anxiety about what happens after we die that potentially drives a lot of bad decisions, brokenness and sin in our lives. However, when we are saved, we receive something precious from the Lord — a calm and confident assurance of Heaven. I once had a

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Grace and Goodness Overcome Evil

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:21 I remember when I first got to seminary. I was a young 25-year-old who knew everything because, well, I had the Bible and that was all I needed. However, being part of a Reformed denomination, I was told that if I wanted to be a pastor, I needed to go to seminary. So on my first day, I waltzed into a class and a really well-known theologian was my professor. At one point that day, when he made an assertion about something, I stood up and literally said to him out loud, “You’re wrong!”  He didn’t lash out at this point nor did he make me feel embarrassed, he simply began asking me questions. As he worked on dismantling my argument one probe at a time, I gradually lost confidence in my position and sat down

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Sudden Resurrection

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead?’” – Luke 24:1-5 What an awesome truth we celebrated this past Sunday! I can’t stop thinking about it! Though the road to the cross was dark and filled with pain and His death was bloody and horrible, Jesus’ resurrection overcame it all! Naturally, when His mother and friend came to the tomb to tend to

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Jesus Won the War

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:10-12 I believe that as Christians, you and I are in a war with the enemy. It’s imperative to acknowledge that we have an enemy and that he comes to steal and destroy. However, though it sounds contradictory, I don’t want you to be afraid of him because he’s a defeated foe. Don’t tune out teaching about your adversary, but on the other hand, don’t feel discouraged, oppressed or worried about his influence in your life. As a believer in Jesus Christ, baptized into His

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