Resource Library

Resources from 2016

December

Richard Sibbes was a 16th -century writer and he wrote a little book called, The Bruised Reed. And in it, he unpacks Isaiah chapter 42 verse 3, “A bruised reed he will not break.” And in that little book, Sibbes writes that “God’s children are bruised reeds, before their conversion and many times after. For usually God empties men of themselves and makes them nothing before He will use...

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

One of the great actors of the last generation that many of you will know is Robert Redford. He was one of those heart-throbs. Everybody loved him. And when he was at the peak of his success, he was noticed by a woman in a hotel lobby – and he was one of those guys who was voted “Best Looking Man Alive” like twenty-six times or something like that –...

Prepare Him Room

Well, I do hope you’re having a wonderful Christmas so far. I’m very glad you’re with us this Lord’s Day Morning to celebrate the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and to worship together with us. As you will know, if you have been with us in the month of December, in the weeks that have led up to Christmas we have been considering the teaching...

Prepare Him Room

Probably the great symbol of Christmas is the tree. I love a good Christmas tree, don’t you? All decorated, sparkling with lights, covered in ornaments; those ornaments, many of them perhaps in your home, tell a story of some significance to your family. Well, Isaiah suggests a different Christmas symbol for us in the opening verse of chapter 11. Not a Christmas tree, but the stump of a...

Prepare Him Room

I remember as a fairly new believer attending the parish church in the village on the outskirts of Glasgow where I grew up for our midnight service one Christmas Eve. It has been a cold and gloomy night as I walked down the street from my family home to the church. We spent the next happy hour singing the praise of God, singing carols by candlelight, praising Him...

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

We all have those favorite Christmas movies. One of the favorites around the Fluhrer household is Elf, about the story of Buddy the Elf who comes to our world. And there’s this great scene in the movie where he’s this real elf from the North Pole and he comes across a department store Santa, which always scare kids, and this one’s no exception. And he thinks it’s the real...

If you’ve got your Bibles, please turn to John chapter 1. That will be the passage we’re studying this morning, John 1:1. I apologize I don’t have the pew page number for you on that, but John 1:1; the fourth gospel of the New Testament. Before we hear God’s Word, let’s go to the Lord in prayer.

Father, the words that were...

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

Sermon on Dec 3, 2016

James 2:8-13

As you’re being seated, if you would take your Bibles and open up to the book of James, we’re in James chapter 2 this evening. We’ll consider our study of this wonderful New Testament book over the coming months. You’ll find our passage on page 1012 if you’re using a pew Bible. James 2:8-13. If you’re visiting, again, we’re glad you’re here. Thanks for being here...

Prepare Him Room

Sermon on Dec 3, 2016

Isaiah 7:1-17

I wonder if you’ve put up your Christmas tree yet. That was my duty yesterday. I was out in the rain choosing a tree; I got cold and wet. There were pine needles in my hair and resin on my elbows. And then there was the sanctifying business of wrestling the thing through the front door into the stand without denuding the tree of every needle that it...

November

Prepare Him Room

Believe it or not, this morning is the first Sunday in Advent. It comes, it seems every year a little faster. Don’t you think? The Christmas season and all the sentimentality and the fun and the gifts and the Christmas present buying and all the trappings that go along with it. We want to try to make the most of the cultural opportunity afforded by the...

Behold, A Throne

They are the kind of questions children like to ask from the back seat on long journeys, aren’t they? “Where are we going? When will we get there? Who’s going to be there?” Actually, they’re enormously important questions to get answers to, especially when it comes to matters of eternity. As I said a moment ago, the final chapter of the book of Revelation answers those three questions...

In 1968, at the Olympic Games in Mexico City, the final event was the marathon. There was an Ethiopian runner who had entered into the stadium. He was the first one to enter there and he finished the track and ran across the finish line and won the race. But about an hour behind him, there was a man by the name of John Stephen Akhwari of Tanzania...

My wife, Wendy, recently pointed me to an interview done several years ago with now the late American author, Pat Conroy. In this interview, he was telling the story of one of the times when one of his books had become a best-selling book. It had sold over 5 million copies and Hollywood came to him and said, “We’d like to make a movie out of your book.”...

Behold, A Throne

That was, of course, Macbeth’s despairing soliloquy, his famous commentary, on what he believed was life’s pointlessness. Tomorrow and yesterday, he says, are empty things. Life is a “tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Meaning and purpose are an illusion. For Shakespeare, Macbeth is a tragic figure, so fascinating precisely because in his context Macbeth was so extreme. His speech is as...

I watched some footage recently of people from all over the world who were blind but who through various medical techniques were enabled to see again – surgery for cataracts or retinal implants or other medical techniques. In one scene, the camera focused in on the faces of children, many of whom have been blind their whole lives, on that moment when after cataract surgery the bandages were...

Behold, A Throne

If you would please take a copy of the holy Scriptures in your hands and turn with me to the last book of the Bible, to the prophecy of John, the book of Revelation. We’re going to read from verse 11 of chapter 19 through the end of chapter 20. Lots of somewhat intricate and important material here. A famous passage in the book of Revelation...

October

God Reigns

As a family, one of our favorite things to do is to visit the national parks of this great country. And before each trip, you know, we try to find out as much detail about each of the parks as we can, particularly about the wildlife in the parks. We want to, we talk about which animals we really want to see while we’re there. And every day...

Well, tonight we’re going to try to descend down into the depths of a very profound mystery, the central mystery of the Christian faith, as we listen to the Lord Jesus pray from the cross. Actually three times – we only read two of His prayers – but three times He prays. He lifts up His voice in prayer as He hangs in agony between two criminals. Three...

God Reigns

Sermon on Oct 23, 2016

Exodus 33-34

I was reading something this week about military disasters and the author offered a definition of a military disaster. He said there are three parts of the definition of a military disaster. The first part is chronic mission failure; your forces fail to achieve their objective. The second part is successful enemy action; your forces fail but the enemy succeeds. And the third part is the total denigration...

God Reigns

Sermon on Oct 16, 2016

Exodus 32

Over and over again we’ve heard this particular warning every hurricane season; we heard it at the last hurricane that was threatening the east coast just recently from the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, you remember. “This storm will kill you,” he said. The message was clear. “Listen to the evacuation warning. Get yourself and your family to safety. This storm will kill you.” And yet this time...

God Reigns

You know, to get a car started sometimes you’ve got to get out and push, right? Sometimes there’s a problem; it won’t start. If there’s a hill you can roll the car down, that often helps. Of course, there’s no point pushing the car down the hill and beginning to pick up momentum if, as you begin to build speed, you suddenly remember the reason the car won’t...

God Reigns

Let me confess to you that I am not much of a one for camping. I’ve done it once or twice in my life and it has, quite frankly, been a miserable experience! I don’t like bugs. I don’t like inflatable mattresses. I don’t like tents! I don’t like camping! I don’t understand why anyone would take free time and waste it on so miserable an experience! And...

September

God Reigns

Sermon on Sep 25, 2016

Exodus 25

Well, this morning we are beginning another major section in the book of Exodus in which God gives instructions for the building of the tabernacle and its various furnishings and equipment. And as we’ll see as we begin to work our way through this material today and in the coming weeks, God gets specific; quite specific. There are detailed directions on scale and proportion on the materials to...

Behold, A Throne

“Can’t!” When we say that word we are generally concluding defeat, aren’t we? Sometimes that’s the path of wisdom of course. We need to know our limits, not try to do more than we can do. On the other hand, “I can’t do it,” or “It can’t be done,” may have less to do with our ability or capacity and more to do with our fear; a defeatist attitude. Perhaps...

Behold, A Throne

Richard Bewes, in his brilliant little commentary on the book of Revelation, tells the story of a trip he made to Sweden. He was traveling from the mainland to the islands of Tjorn and Orust. “To get there,” he said, “you have to pass over the famous and very beautiful, Tjorn Bridge. On this occasion, however, I was unable to use the bridge; it was down. A tanker...

God Reigns

George Mallory and Sandy Irvine attempted the first ascent of Mount Everest. They disappeared only 800 feet from the summit on the eighth of June, 1924. To this day, the question of whether they actually attained the summit or not before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay finally managed it in 1953, remains unsettled. Among those who have doubted their success is Hillary himself who famously said, “If you...

Behold, A Throne

When I was in art school I had a friend whose specialty was tapestry and her studio was almost completely filled with an enormous loom on which she wove intricate works of art from loose threads. Now the way to really appreciate a tapestry-like that is not to pick one thread and then begin to unravel it until you see how it intersects with every other thread in...

God Reigns

In the city of Glasgow, my hometown, there’s a park to the east of the center of the city called Glasgow Green. It was gifted by King James II to the people of the city in the year 1450. Today, it is a beautiful, modern, landscaped park filled with historic monuments, a wonderful old museum called, The People’s Palace. There’s a Victorian glass house called, The Winter Gardens...

Behold, A Throne

Well, some of you will remember, as I said before we took our break at the beginning of the summer we were working through the letters of the risen Christ to the seven churches of Asia Minor with which the book of Revelation opens. And they offered a penetrating, sometimes uncomfortable, examination of life in these seven representative congregations. These were churches struggling with false teaching. For some...

God Reigns

One of the things I have enjoyed about life here in Mississippi is learning its cultural rhythms. I’m not speaking about the music of our state so much as the rhythms of our people, the life of our culture, the ebb and flow of our calendar. And there are different factors that shape those rhythms, aren’t there? So for example, football season has just begun and with it...

August

So if I said to you the words, “Have fun storming the castle,” would you know what I was talking about? Those of you who are puzzled, you can ask later! Actually, let me give you a little context. It’s what Billy Crystal’s character, Miracle Max, and his wife, Valerie, said to our hero, Wesley, after Wesley and his motley crew had come to Miracle Max hoping for...

Ravi Zacharias is a Christian apologist who comes from India. He tells a story from his homeland called, “The Wealth is Nearer Than You Realized!” It’s an old story from India and it goes like this. There was a wealthy merchant who went out on a trip and he took all of his most precious valuables with him, specifically a lot of jewels. So he’s out on this...

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

Full disclosure! Shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but I’m not too much of a reality TV guy. If you are, it’s okay, not judging, but one show that did catch my attention a few years ago was the show, Undercover Boss. And the whole premise of the show was the boss, the CEO of a multimillion dollar corporation, everything from Subway to Circle K, Burger King, would...

God Reigns

Over the last few weeks, in a variety of counseling situations with people of different ages and stages, coming with different problems and concerns, there’s been something of a common theme, one I’m sure will resonate with many if not all of us. Over and over again, people have expressed to me a struggle with the need to fit in, to find approval, to belong to the crowd...

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

Some of y’all may remember the name Jim Fixx. He quite literally wrote the book on running in the 1970s. It was published in 1978. It was called, The Complete Guide to Running. He was world renown for his expertise on not only his times but also how he ran and how he taught people to run. But one day he was out jogging on a road near his home...

God Reigns

Now if you would please take a copy of the Scriptures and turn with me in them to the book of Exodus, chapter 21. If you’re using one of our church Bibles, you’ll find them in the pew racks in front of you or under your chair and Exodus 21, we’re going to be looking at the first eleven verses, that’s on page 62 in our...

Well good evening! I bring you greeting from Central Carolina Presbytery and I am honored and grateful to be here tonight and to fill this pulpit. It is a great privilege to be here for Tree and Jeri Lyn. And I will refer to him as Tree which I think you do as well, is that correct? So there’s no Andrew tonight; it’s Tree, right? Well...

God Reigns

We return this morning to our ongoing explanation and examination of the teaching of the book of Exodus. You will remember, as the summer began, we worked our way through the teaching of the Ten Commandments and now we’ve come back to resume the next section of the book. So let me invite you if you would please, to take a copy of the holy Scriptures...

July

Please turn with me in your copy of God’s Word to the gospel of Matthew, chapter 11 verses 25 to 30. That can be found on the pew Bible page 816 for those using that. It’s been just over a year since I last preached here. Thank you all, again, for your support of Belhaven RUF, your support of our family. Thank you that more and more this...

Sermon on Jul 31, 2016

Psalm 51

Please turn with me in your Bibles to Psalm 51. We have been looking at different psalms this month. This morning we come to Psalm 51. It’s on page 474 in the church Bible in front of you. And just before we jump in and read, something to consider. I love old sports movies and a movie that I grew up watching, really on repeat with...

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

As you’re sitting down, if you have a copy of God’s Word I invite you to turn to the book of James. We’re studying through the New Testament book of James in the evenings this summer. If you’re a visitor, a warm welcome to you again. We’re so glad you’re here; glad you’re with us. We find ourselves in James chapter 1 verses 19 to 25...

If you would turn in your Bibles to the book of Psalms, we’ll be in Psalm 111 and 112 this morning. It can be found on page 509 of your pew Bibles. We’ve been working through a different psalm each Sunday in the month of July. This Sunday we will go through two psalms, and each of these psalms stands on their own but what we see is...

As you are sitting down, please take your Bibles and turn together to the letter of James, towards the end of the New Testament. It’s found on page 1011 if you are you using the pew Bible, 1011. We’ve been working our way through the book of James this summer and more properly, the first chapter of the book of James, and we’re in verses 17...

I invite you to take your Bible and turn with me to Psalm 31. If you’re using the pew Bible in front of you, it’s on page 461. This is a longer psalm, but a powerful psalm in that it not only shows us the rescue of God, but it shows us what we need to be rescued from in ways that we don’t normally think...

Monday Morning Quarterback

Devotional on Jul 11, 2016

“No one understands; no one seeks for God."  (Romans 3:11 ESV)

The great Christian apologist G.K. Chesterton once responded to a request from The London Times, in which the newspaper asked a simple question, “What is wrong with the world?” Chesterton supplied an equally simple answer. He wrote, “Dear Sirs: I am. Sincerely yours, G.K. Chesterton.”

As you’re being seated, please take your Bibles and turn to the book of James, a New Testament book. It’s found on page 1011 if you’re using a pew Bible. Again, good to see you; glad you’re here. We’re continuing our studies in James this evening and we’ll be looking at verses 13 to 16 together, and again, that’s found on page 1011. Before we listen...

Good to see y’all. Good to have you if you’re visiting with us here this morning. If you’ve got your Bibles, turn to Psalm 14. We’ll be looking through this psalm together here this morning. Psalm 14. You’ll find it on page 453 if you’re using a pew Bible. Again, if you’re a visitor, good to have you with us. We’re glad you’re here. Psalm 14...

Monday Morning Quarterback

Devotional on Jul 4, 2016

I love July 4th. It was a hugely important holiday in my family growing up, as both my grandfather and his brother, my great uncle, risked their lives protecting our freedoms during World War Two. These men made sure my brothers and I understood the high cost of freedom so that we would never take it for granted. As thankful as I am for the freedoms we enjoy...

I had the privilege a few days ago of teaching the Bible lesson to the children from Neighborhood Christian Center as they meet during the summertime in our church. And I asked the question, I started off the lesson of asking the question, “What is the most frequently mentioned animal in the Bible?” The first answer that came up was, “sheep.” And they were right. And...

Sermon on Jul 3, 2016

Psalm 84

Let me invite you to open your copies of God’s Word, or the Bible, from the pew rack in front of you to Psalm 84. We will be walking through Psalm 84 this morning and during the month of July on Sunday mornings, several of our assistant ministers will be taking us through some of the psalms. In preparation for that or in introduction of that...

June

Monday Morning Quarterback

Devotional on Jun 27, 2016

Most of us recall the name Todd Beamer. He was the man who led the passengers against the hijackers of Flight 93, which crashed over Shanksville, PA on September 11, 2001. Shortly before his tremendous act of bravery, which would save many lives, he called his wife. They prayed the Lord’s Prayer together and he concluded, “Jesus, help me. Let’s roll.”

If you have your Bibles with you, I’d invite you to turn to Colossians chapter 1. It’s on page 983 if you’re using a pew Bible. Colossians chapter 1. We’ll be studying verses 15 through 20 this evening. Again, if you’re a visitor, good to have you with us. We’re glad you’re here. Thankful that you’re here with us at First Presbyterian Church tonight. We’ll be...

Collision

Take your copies of God’s holy Word in your hands and turn with me please to Malachi chapter 3 at the sixteenth verse. Malachi chapter 3 at verse 16. If you are using one of our church Bibles, you will find that on page 802. Malachi 3 at the sixteenth verse. This is the last section we’ll be looking at together from the book...

Monday Morning Quarterback

Devotional on Jun 20, 2016

Mark Twain, one of America’s greatest writers, was also a lifelong opponent of Christianity. He called it the “slaughtering religion,” because of the bible’s teaching on Christ’s blood atonement. His wife, Olivia Langdon, was reared in a Christian home. When she met Twain, he downplayed his lack of faith. Eventually they were married and he returned to his former contempt of Christianity. Soon, she left the church. At...

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

Again if you’re a visitor, welcome! Good to have you with us. We’re glad you’re here. We’re studying through the New Testament book of James. It’s toward the back of the New Testament there; it’s found on page 1011 if you’re using a pew Bible, 1011. And we’ll be studying together this evening James chapter 1 verses 9 through 12. James 1:9-12. Before we listen to...

Collision

Now if you would please take your copies of God’s Holy Word in your hands and turn with me to the prophecy of Malachi. Malachi chapter 2, page 802, in the church Bibles if you’re using one of our church Bibles. Malachi chapter 2, at the seventeenth verse. We’ll be reading through verse 15, of chapter 3. Before we read together, let’s bow our heads as...

Monday Morning Quarterback

Devotional on Jun 13, 2016

One of the biggest crises facing our country today is not who the next president will be (though, we should be concerned about that). This crisis goes far beyond party affiliations, class, or race. It is the crisis of fatherhood, or better stated, the crisis of the absence of fathers.

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

If you’re visiting with us, a warm welcome to you. We’re glad you’re here. Last week, we began a series in the book of James in the New Testament and we’ll continue that tonight. We’ll be studying James chapter 1 verses 2 through 8, and that’s found on pages 1011, and 1012, in your pew Bibles; 1011-1012. James 1:2-8. Let’s give our careful and reverent attention to the...

Collision

Now if you would please take a copy of the Scriptures in your hands and turn with me in them to the prophecy of Malachi, chapter 2; page 801 in the church Bibles. We’ll be thinking about the message of verses 10-16, the second half of chapter 2. And before we read it together, before we pray and then read, let me say two things about...

Monday Morning Quarterback

Devotional on Jun 6, 2016

“And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.” (Genesis 2:2 ESV)

Most of us do not rest well. And not just at night, not just when we try to sleep and can’t. In general. Most of us do not know how to vacation, to...

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

As you’re being seated, take your Bibles and let’s turn together to the book of James. One of the later books in the New Testament, it’s on page 1011 if you’re using a pew Bible. I’m excited to be studying together for the next few months the book of James. And we’ll start off tonight with chapter 1, and verse 1. Again, that’s page 1011. If you’re a...

Collision

Now if you would please, take your Bibles and turn with me to Malachi chapter 2, Malachi chapter 2; page 801 in the pew Bibles. We’ll be reading verses 1 to 9 together. You will remember, Malachi the prophet has been sent to the people of Judah who have come back from exile in Babylon to the city of Jerusalem whose walls have been restored, the temple has...

May

Monday Morning Quarterback

Devotional on May 30, 2016

Today is Memorial Day, a day when we remember those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. Both my grandfather and his brother, my great uncle, served in World War II and lost many friends. For that reason, they always held this day in high regard and that left a lasting impression on me. So as we fire up the grills today and gather to enjoy...

If you will take your copy of God’s Word and turn to Ezekiel chapter 37, it’s found on page 724 and 725 of the black pew Bibles before you. In the early chapters of Ezekiel, up unto our passage today, there is a great judgment. It is doom and gloom, and for good reason, because Israel has turned to idols. They have worshiped the creature instead...

Let me invite you to take your copy of the Scriptures. We’ll look at Mark chapter 11 verses 12 to 14 and then move to verses 20 through 25. It’s always a privilege to fill this pulpit. It’s a great honor because I know who’s been here before me. It’s a great honor to be here, not only serving here, but in this pulpit today. Before...

Monday Morning Quarterback

Devotional on May 23, 2016

Have you ever heard the phrase, “That person is so heavenly-minded that he is no earthly good?” There may be some truth to this slogan, for some Christians have the mentality that since heaven is our true home, this present life doesn’t matter all that much. However, at its root, the Bible teaches us the exact opposite of this phrase. This morning, let’s take time to think about...

Behold, A Throne

If you would please open your Bibles at the last book of the Scriptures, the book of Revelation, chapter 3. We’re considering the words of verses 14 to 22 and you’ll find that on page 1030. We’ve come tonight to the last of the letters of Christ to the seven churches with which the book of Revelation opens. We’ll be taking a break here for the summer in...

Collision

Beginning last Lord’s Day Morning, we started to sit together as a church under the ministry of the prophet, Malachi. Malachi is the last book of the Old Testament scriptures and its purpose is to call the wayward and the spiritually apathetic people of God to renewal and revival and faithfulness and reformation. And last time we looked together at the opening five verses of the first chapter...

Article on May 18, 2016

As a congregation, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, has been a leader in our denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, from its inception. That ongoing leadership role requires us to acknowledge our errors as well as our successes.  Across our denomination there is an important ongoing conversation taking place about race and racial reconciliation, and we have a vital part to play in advancing that discussion for the glory...

Monday Morning Quarterback

Devotional on May 16, 2016

John 3:16

A Biblical commentator tells the story of God’s love from an incident that occurred during World War I. During the darkest times of that conflict, a conflict that took the lives of a shocking number of English sons, a man took his little boy out for a walk at night. The boy noticed that some of the houses had stars in the windows. “That comes from this terrible...

Behold, A Throne

Now if you would please take a copy of God’s holy Word in your hands and turn to Revelation chapter 3 at the seventh verse. You’ll find that on page 1029 if you’re using one of our church Bibles. We have been working through the book of Revelation and studying seven messages for the churches of Asia Minor given to the Apostle John by the risen...

Collision

This morning we are taking a break from our ongoing exposition of the book of Exodus. God willing, we’ll come back to it in the fall. As we begin the summer months, for now, we are going to be sitting together under the ministry of the prophet, Malachi. So let me invite you please to go ahead and take your Bibles and to turn there with...

Monday Morning Quarterback

Devotional on May 9, 2016

Romans 1:18

There are few subjects in the history of the human race more feared and less studied than the wrath of God. In our day, the wrath of God is rarely mentioned from the pulpit (or the pew). Instead, most people balk at the idea that God would ever be angry. One theologian at the turn of the century summarizes well our popular view of God: “A God without...

Behold, A Throne

Please take a copy of the holy Scriptures and turn with me in them to Revelation chapter 3. Revelation chapter 3 at verse 1. You’ll find that on page 1029 in our church Bibles. We’re reading the message of the risen Christ now to the church in the city of Sardis. You will recall, if you’ve been with us over these weeks as we’ve studied the...

Let’s pray!

Almighty, all gracious, all loving, all knowing God, unless You had given to us of the Holy Spirit, unless the Holy Spirit so works in power and glory and mercy and grace, we live and labor and listen, even this morning, in vain. So come and do what You alone can do for the glory of the Father alone. In...

Monday Morning Quarterback

Last August, our family moved to Mississippi from the Raleigh-Durham area, one of the fastest growing metroplexes in the country. One thing we do not miss is the traffic. Few things were more annoying than sitting daily in the line of cars at a near standstill on I-440, watching some car come streaking down the passing lane, only to cut in ahead of the other cars just before...

Behold, A Throne

Listening is a skill that we all need to cultivate, but we all sometimes fail to deploy. Isn’t that the case? This came home to me last week when I read a story from the BBC about Mr. Mark Patterson. Mark Patterson is the stadium announcer for the Dairy City Soccer Stadium in Ireland. And as often happens, I suppose it’s part of the daily duties, the regular...

God Reigns

I want you to see four things – I mentioned them earlier – four things in verses 18 to 21. The Law of God here shows us God Himself, the Law shows us ourselves, the Law shows us at least a glimpse of the future judgment, and the Law shows us Jesus Christ.

April

Monday Morning Quarterback

Devotional on Apr 25, 2016

Isaiah 6:3

Once, as an experiment, the great scientist Isaac Newton stared at the image of the sun reflected in a mirror. The brightness burned into his retina, and he suffered temporary blindness. Even after he hid for three days behind closed shutters, still the bright spot would not fade from his vision. “I used all means to divert my imagination from the sun,” he writes, “But if I thought...

Behold, A Throne

So far we’ve considered two of the common threats to the spiritual vitality of the church addressed in this part of the book of Revelation. In Ephesus, the church had lost its first love. It had entered a period of spiritual declination. It remained theologically orthodox; it was busy serving, but its love and its passion for Christ had been obscured and lost sight of and neglected. And...

God Reigns

In a fascinating book entitled, Affluenza: How to be Successful and Stay Sane, Oliver James analyzes the dysfunctions of contemporary western culture that have been generated by the relentless acquisitiveness and greed that is so characteristic of our age. “Consumption,” he says, “holds out the false promise that an internal lack can be fixed by an external means. We medicate our misery through buying things.” And then he illustrates...

Monday Morning Quarterback

It’s popular today to think that there are many paths to God or that God is whatever you feel him to be. People say things like, “God for me is [fill in the blank].” If Christians claim their knowledge of God is true, this claim is seen as misguided at best and arrogant at worst. But the most important question any of us will ever ask is, “Can...

Behold, A Throne

The city of Smyrna, present day Izmir in Turkey, was built on a hill often called the “Crown of Smyrna.” Look at verse 10. Those who are faithful sufferers for Jesus in the city of Smyrna will be given a better crown, a crown of life. Jesus, you see, wants them to endure when faithfulness to Him becomes really costly. He wants them to be like rocks on...

God Reigns

Please open your Bibles to Exodus chapter 20. If you’re using a church Bible, you’ll find it on page 61. In a few moments we will read together the words of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-17. We’ve come this morning to the ninth commandment, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Of all the commandments, I’m not sure there’s one of them more frequently broken...

Monday Morning Quarterback

It’s one of my favorite memories, one I’m sure I share with a lot of dads. My wife and I were at the neighborhood pool when our oldest daughter was just learning to swim. Being only about 2 years old, she was scared to jump in. I kept telling her I would catch her, but she was terrified to jump. She didn’t believe me. Finally, she closed her...

Behold, A Throne

Sermon on Apr 10, 2016

Revelation 2:1-7

The book of Revelation, you will remember, opens with the remarkable vision given to John of the exalted Christ walking in the midst of the lampstands, symbolic of His presence in the midst of His Church. And He has commissioned the apostle John to write in a letter the things that he hears and sees and he is to send it to seven churches in Asia Minor. And...

God Reigns

Sermon on Apr 10, 2016

Exodus 20

We’ve had cause, over and over again, as we’ve worked through the summary of God’s own moral character given to us in the Ten Commandments and so we have cause here again as we study the eighth commandment to return to the beginning of the whole story, back to the Garden of Eden, and to see God’s original design for us. You remember when God placed our first...

Monday Morning Quarterback

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I’m not talking about our appearance. I’m sure most of us wish we could run faster, bench more, have more hair, or whatever. I’m thinking more about our inward character. What is one character flaw you wish you could change? Losing it with your wife? Your kids? Being lazy at work? Not doing enough ministry?

...

It’s an undeserved privilege in more ways than one. I was quite mischievous as a child, but I was also, at the same time and perhaps this goes with our own insecurities, is that I was quite a fearful child. I had – I’m going to go back and forth between the fear and mischievous behavior – but I think I probably still hold the record for the...

March

Monday Morning Quarterback

Devotional on Mar 28, 2016

Luke 24:5-6

One author notes a motto popular in Athens when the apostle Paul was ministering there over 2000 years ago: “Once a man dies and the earth drinks up his blood, there is no resurrection.” The same attitude is very much with us today. Most people, whether scholars or everyday folks, believe that life ends at death. The notion of resurrection—of bodily life after death—seems like a fairy tale...

Behold, A Throne

 John, you will recall, has heard a heavenly voice, a voice, verse 10 says, was “like a trumpet,” commissioning him to write what he sees and hears and send it as a letter to the seven churches in Asia Minor. And now as he turns to look for the one who is speaking to him, I want you to notice the striking way that he puts it in...

How can you find joy when sorrow grips your heart? How do you rejoice when life is relentless in throwing grief-inducing trials your way? If you’ll look for a moment at our passage in 1 Peter chapter 1, you will see that that is precisely what Peter says the Christians of Asia Minor were doing in verse 6. Do you see that in verse 6? “In this you...

Monday Morning Quarterback

"But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." (Galatians 6:14 ESV)

“The idea that Jesus died on a cross for our sins is intellectually contemptible and morally outrageous.” This was the studied estimate of Christianity by the great Oxford University philosophy...

Behold, A Throne

Revelation is probably the most neglected New Testament book, I suspect for at least two reasons. First, it is frankly complex and mysterious, isn’t it, full of strange metaphors, bizarre beasts; symbolic numbers laden with rich allusions to the Old Testament and to its imagery. And quite often as a result to the casual reader in 2016, let’s be honest, it can be very difficult to understand. We...

God Reigns

A tectonic shift has taken place in our culture when it comes to answering the identity question, “Who am I?” a vital question. For most of our history the way we answered that question had to do with a complex of issues - things like gender, culture, ethnicity, economics, education, employment, upbringing and religion. They all helped us locate ourselves in our world and understand who we are...

Monday Morning Quarterback

Devotional on Mar 14, 2016

Isaiah 53:5

One author tells the story of reading about a couple from the Midwest who were caught in a deadly tornado. The fatal twister came upon the couple and their small baby suddenly. Realizing they had no time to take cover, they laid their child on the floor and covered her with their bodies. After the storm passed, rescue workers began the gut-wrenching task of sorting through the wreckage...

How to Live in the Last Days

 Back in 1998, I had the opportunity to visit “Celebration” in Disney. This is a town that Disney bought a number of years ago and attempted to turn it into something of the perfect community. Every lawn was cut to a certain length, all the mailboxes were at a certain height, there were strict building codes and covenant codes to live in Celebration. One observer when it was...

God Reigns

Sermon on Mar 13, 2016

Exodus 20:1-17

I am not a fan of the theology of Pope John Paul II nor am I given really to quoting him, but he was right when he said that ours can justly be called “a culture of death.” Let me give you just a couple of examples to justify that statement, the first from the realm of entertainment. Film critic, Vincent Canby, writing for The New York Times back in...

Monday Morning Quarterback

Devotional on Mar 7, 2016

Romans 5:18

A number of years ago, my wife and I had a fellow minister and his wife over for dinner. While we were enjoying our meal, the doorbell rang. When we opened the door, two Mormon missionaries greeted us. My friend and I began to engage them in conversation, asking them about their beliefs. Quite obviously, these two eager young men had paid attention in their training, rattling off...

My son, Danny, came home from his baseball team and he said, “Dad, it was really weird.” He was in sixth grade. He said, “The coach made us all bow to the ground. It was like we were worshiping the ground. You know, we all line up and we bow to the coach,” and that’s like a handshake in Japan, “but then Dad, it’s so weird, we turn...

I was on the second floor of our house in Chiba, Japan, right outside Tokyo, and I heard this great big commotion downstairs. The kids were fighting and screaming and I ran downstairs, angry because I was interrupted from my work, and my son, Danny, he was fifteen years old - he’s now a church planter in Atlanta - had my daughter, Sarah Beth, who was eight who...

February

Monday Morning Quarterback

Devotional on Feb 29, 2016

Mark 1:1

Bob Woods tells the story of a couple who took their son, 11, and daughter, 7, to Carlsbad Caverns. When the tour reached the deepest point in the cavern, the guide turned off all the lights to show how utterly dark it was underground. The little girl, suddenly enveloped in utter darkness, was frightened and began to cry. Immediately her older brother spoke up. “Don’t cry. Somebody here...

What a passage! And when we come to a passage like this, the temptation for us is to really get taken up in the fact that this man is demon possessed and to really focus on that. And sure, we’ve got things, as we’re going to see, that we can learn from this man, but the focus of this passage is not the demon possessed man; the focus...

Monday Morning Quarterback

Devotional on Feb 22, 2016

Romans 5:8

As we continue thinking about the basics of the gospel, last week we established that the gospel is good news about what God has done in sending the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, to save us. This week, let’s think briefly about why the Gospel is good news for sinners.

How to Live in the Last Days

It became known later as New England’s “Dark Day,” and it appears that on May 19, 1780, a forest fire, a thick fog, and an unusual cloud cover converged over most of New England to create a darkness that began right after sun-up and continued the whole day. The house of representatives was meeting in Hartford, Connecticut, and many of the representatives began glancing out the windows because...

God Reigns

Now if you would please take a copy of the Scriptures and turn with me once again to the book of Exodus, chapter 20, as we continue to examine the teaching of the Ten Commandments together. We have looked at the first four commandments and we looked at the Sabbath command last Lord’s Day, which brings us to the fifth commandment and the beginning of what’s...

Monday Morning Quarterback

Devotional on Feb 15, 2016

Luke 2:10-11

“When the day finally came, it was like no other day that anyone can remember. It had a flavor of its own, an extemporaneousness which gave it something of the quality of a vast, happy village party as people wandered about, sat, sang, and slept against a slimmer background of trees, grass, flowers, and water.”

These were the words of novelist Mollie Panter-Downes, a British writer...

How to Live in the Last Days

As you’re being seated, please turn in your Bibles to 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, and that’s found on page 987 in our pew Bibles; 987. We’ll be studying verses 13 to 18 this evening. Before we hear God’s Word, let us go to Him in prayer.

Father, we’re just sung about the King of Glory and here in the land of the...

God Reigns

Now please take a copy of the Scriptures in your hands. You’ll find copies of our church Bibles in the pockets in the pews in front of you. Turn with me to the book of Exodus. We’ve been working our way through Exodus and we’ve slowed down as we’ve come to Exodus chapter 20 to the Ten Commandments so that we can work our way through...

How to Live in the Last Days

As you’re being seated, please turn in your Bibles to Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians; 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, and we’ll be studying verses 9 through 12 this evening. You’ll find that on page 987 if you’re using a pew Bible. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12. Before I read that passage, let’s go to the Lord in prayer.

Father, truer words were never...

I invite you to take your Bible and turn with me to Matthew, chapter 24. It’s on page 829 in your pew Bible if you’re using it. We’re in this chapter because this chapter contains the theme verse for our rapidly approaching Mission Conference, the theme of which is, “Finish the Mission.” Before we read that verse and begin thinking about what’s coming, let’s go to...

January

How to Live in the Last Days

As you’re being seated, please turn with me in your Bibles to Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. We’ll be studying chapter 4, verses 1 through 8, of 1 Thessalonians this evening, and that’s found on page 987 if you’re using a pew Bible. Before we read this together, let’s pray and ask the Lord’s blessing.

Our great God, Father, Son, and...

Thank you very much, David. I always feel so much love and gratitude to be back in this wonderful congregation. My wife and I and five children spent some of our best years here and we brought up the children in worship here three times a week and then at Presbyterian Day School and what a benefit and a blessing it has been in their lives...

How to Live in the Last Days

As you’re being seated, please turn in your Bibles to Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, 1 Thessalonians chapter 3, and we’ll be studying verses 6 through 13 this evening; that’s found on page 987 if you’re using a pew Bible. Before we listen to God’s Word, let us pray and ask His blessing on it.

Our Father in heaven, we would...

God Reigns

Sermon on Jan 24, 2016

Exodus 20:1-17

Now please take a copy of God’s Word in your hands and turn with me to the book of Exodus, chapter 20; Exodus chapter 20. Page 61 in the church Bibles. We continue this morning our ongoing expositions in the Ten Commandments, thinking today about the third commandment which you will find in verse 7, though we’ll read all ten commandments together. Before we do that...

How to Live in the Last Days

As you’re being seated, please turn with me in your Bibles to Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 in verse 17 through chapter 3 and verse 5 is what we’ll be studying tonight. We’re making our way through a series called, How to Live in the Last Days, and one of the things we’ve noticed about what the New Testament teaches about the...

God Reigns

If you have a copy of God’s Word to hand, turn with me in the Scriptures to the book of Exodus, chapter 20. If you’re using one of our church Bibles, you’ll find that on page 61. We have been working our way through the Ten Commandments; we’re really only beginning. Last time we looked at the preface to the Ten Commandments in Exodus chapter 20 verses 1...

How to Live in the Last Days

As you’re being seated, please turn with me in your Bibles to Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. You’ll find it on page 986 if you’re using a pew Bible; page 986. 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 and verses 1 through 16 is what we will be studying this evening. Before we listen to God’s Word together let us pray and ask His blessing on it.

...

God Reigns

Sermon on Jan 10, 2016

Exodus 20

If you would please, take a copy of God’s Word in your hands and turn with me in them to page 61; Exodus chapter 20. We are going to be thinking about the Ten Commandments. Israel has been rescued from Egyptian slavery; they have begun their journey through the wilderness towards the Promised Land. They have camped at the foot of Mount Sinai. We saw in...

How to Live in the Last Days

As you’re being seated, please turn with me in your Bibles to Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, 1 Thessalonians. You’ll find it on page 986 if you’re using a pew Bible. Again, Happy New Year to you! In the next couple of months we’ll be preaching through this entire book of 1 Thessalonians. Tonight we will study chapter 1 together and the title of this...

God Reigns

Now if you would please, take a copy of Holy Scripture and turn with me in it to the book of Exodus, chapter 19; Exodus chapter 19. If you are using one of our church Bibles you’ll find that on page 60. We are going back to our ongoing series studying the book of Exodus. We’ve come to a section that will occupy our attention for the next...

Joshua

Sermon on Mar 6, 2002

Joshua 5:13-6:27

Joshua 5:13–6:27 There Was No Battle at Jericho!

The really amazing thing about the battle of Jericho is that there was no battle! It is something which is summarized for us in Joshua 6:2, when the Lord says to Joshua: "See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and it's fighting men." When we turn to the pages of the...

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