Resource Library

Resources from 2017

December

Sermon on Dec 31, 2017

Psalm 1

Good morning and happy New Year. I trust you don’t think it’s too premature for me to go ahead and wish you a happy New Year. After all, we’re only about twelve hours out from it becoming 2018. It’s sort of hard to believe that another year has come and gone and we’re about to start another year in just a matter of hours. Whenever New Year comes...

First, we see earthly questions. And the first question comes from a Pharisee named Nicodemus. Now most of us are probably more familiar with Nicodemus' background than we are with maybe some of our close friends. You know, it's a regular occurrence here around First Pres that you will be talking with someone that you have known for many years and it comes up in conversation and you...

Veiled in Flesh

I want you to see that Luke chapter 2, or this portion of Luke chapter 2, is offering us a choice. It proposes two different visions of power, two different models of life, to regimes, under one of which we, all of us, must live. You notice the contrast that Luke draws between two kings in our passage. Don’t you? In verse 1, there’s the kingship of Caesar...

Veiled in Flesh

This morning we were looking at Luke’s gospel, chapter 2, and the nativity scene in verses 1 to 7. If you have your Bibles, if you don’t already have them open, would you turn to them once again to Luke’s gospel, chapter 2, to the passage we read a moment ago, and to the second half of the chapter. I thought since we considered the first half this...

Winter Grace

An Advent Service of Comfort and Hope

Sermon on Dec 20, 2017

Veiled in Flesh

Over these weeks of Advent so far, we have walked with Mary through the events of Christ’s first coming and listened in as the angel, Gabriel, announced to her, her miraculous pregnancy. We went with Mary on her journey last Lord’s Day Morning to visit cousin Elizabeth in the hill country of Judah and we saw the explosive joy that characterized their meeting. You remember Elizabeth was so...

Rescue

As you have been hearing, we are celebrating the coming of the Lord Jesus who came on a rescue mission to save us from our sin and guilt and to reconcile us to God. And to help us think about the Biblical teaching on that point, I want to invite you if you would to take your Bibles in hand and to turn with me to Matthew's gospel, chapter 1. We looked...

Veiled in Flesh

On this second Sunday in Advent, we are continuing to consider the Christmas story through the lens of the experience of the virgin Mary. It is a fascinating and, I think, important fact to notice that both at the beginning of the story of Jesus’ first coming and at its conclusion, both at the incarnation and at the resurrection, the first witnesses are women. At a time when the news is filled...

Rescue

Christmas is a time for family. When we were kids, each Christmas in my family home, my brother and I would get up insufferably early. We usually would have to be sent back to bed two or three times before we were finally allowed out of our rooms. And then we’d all go downstairs and have breakfast. We were not allowed to touch the presents under the tree...

Veiled in Flesh

Well, this morning is the first Sunday in the Advent season, so we are taking a break for this season from our usual studies in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians as we are reminded of the meaning and the significance of the birth of the Lord Jesus and as we celebrate together His first coming. We're taking a break to consider the message, the meaning of the...

November

Sermon on Nov 26, 2017

Psalm 117

It’s an interesting little providential quirk, really, that the very center chapter of the Bible, the five-hundred and ninety-fifth chapter of the Bible happens to be Psalm 117. The very middle chapter is the chapter before us. It also happens to be the shortest psalm and the shortest chapter in the whole of the Scriptures. I don’t think there’s any significance to that at all; I just think...

Rewire

One of the recurring themes Paul has dealt with over and again in 1 Corinthians is the theme of division. It has really been troubling the Corinthian congregations, so back in chapter 1 and again in chapter 3, you will remember the Corinthians were dividing over their favorite preachers. There were different groups claiming their different favorite. “I follow Paul.” “I follow Apollos.” “I follow Cephas.” Even, “I follow...

Sermon on Nov 19, 2017

John 2:1-25

 I heard a definition this week of “stress.” The definition of “stress” that I heard was that “it is the gap between our expectation and our reality.” Stress is the gap between expectation and reality. We all know the stress that comes with unmet expectations, that come with disappointments and letdowns and satisfactions that do not last long or they do not live up to what we hoped...

Sermon on Nov 19, 2017

John 8:12

Before we read, something to consider. Many of you know this; I talk about this a lot. My dad is a football coach. And my favorite team, my all-time favorite team that he coached was the 1995 Arkansas Razorbacks. You remember this team? I’m just joking; nobody remembers this team! But my dad, he was the Offensive Coordinator, and the quarterback was Barry Lunney Jr. The running back...

Well, thank you very much for that very generous introduction. It's always a privilege to be here at First Pres and I'm grateful to Dr. Strain for giving me this particular opportunity. I first preached from this pulpit in 1991, so if you are twenty-six years or under, you were not even a glint in your father’s eye when I first preached here! The last time I preached...

Rewire

We have been working our way through Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Christians and Paul, in this letter, is responding to a number of concerns that have been sent to him for his input and instruction by the Corinthians themselves, but he’s also responding to reports that have reached him directly from people who have worshipped in that congregation. And in the section we are in now in...

As we’ve already heard from Spence Flatgard, today is Commitment Sunday, the second Sunday in our stewardship season. And our Scripture this year was chosen because it directs our attention not so much to the means, the finances that we need to accomplish the work of the church, as it does to the vision. We want to focus on the task committed to the church by the Lord...

If you were with us last Lord’s Day Evening, we had a presbytery-wide celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. And the service was structured around the five Solas; those five slogans, almost, that summarized many of the central concerns of the Reformation. Since tonight I have a stand-alone message to preach – next Lord’s Day Evening we’ll have Dr. John Blanchard with us – I thought...

October

Sermon on Oct 29, 2017

Acts 1:8

Well as you know, this week and next week we are taking a short break from our studies in 1 Corinthians as a part of our stewardship season, and we’ve designated this morning as Vision Sunday to think about our vision as a church, and next Sunday, Commitment Sunday, as we pledge and give toward the ministry to which we are committed. We want to do a better...

In one of his letters to the humanist, Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, Martin Luther offered as an indictment of Erasmus’ thought a comment that probably diagnoses the causes of so many of the spiritual diseases that continue to plague our Christian lives even today. He said this. “Your thoughts of God are too human.” “Your thoughts of God are too human.” When friends pushed back with skepticism on...

And before we jump in and read, just something to consider. I recently heard a story in a sermon about a man named Dick Kaufmann who was a former all-American football player and Harvard MBA and now he is a pastor in San Diego. And he told the story that when he was younger, he would get so overwhelmed with anxiety and it would be so heavy for...

Rewire

Paul is beginning a new section of his letter that will take us all the way through chapter 14 concerned primarily with an entire array of issues connected with public worship in the Corinthian churches. He will speak to us some more about the Lord’s Supper in the second half of this chapter. He will talk about Christian unity in the public assemblies. He will talk about the...

 John chapter 1 begins with those famous and staggering truths about Jesus Christ. That, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” And that “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we have beheld his glory, as of the only son from the Father.” It’s almost as if John is beginning his gospel with a hymn of...

Rewire

Paul has been talking about the nature and the boundary, the limits, of Christian freedom. The Corinthians had written to him asking for advice about a particular problem that was especially pressing in the culture in which they lived. Food, meat was often sold in the market as surplus to requirements after having first been used in the sacrifices of the pagan temples in the city of Corinth. And so...

Rewire

Paul has been dealing with the problems that a misunderstanding of Christian freedom can bring in the life of a church. In verses 1 to 13, as we looked at last time, Paul focused on the problem of presumption. The Corinthians were in danger of being presumptuous, thinking themselves free to live however they pleased. Then this week, 14 to 22, the problem of compromise – seeking to...

That’s what Paul is up to tonight. He is writing to his young charge, Timothy. And this is kind of the guy Paul has mentored in ministry. And isn’t it interesting, here at the end of his life, these are the last letters that he wrote – 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus – Paul, who taught us about spiritual gifts – speaking in tongues, resurrections, all of...

We’ll come back to that passage, but let’s start at the beginning. It’s a great story; I wish I had several hours to unpack it. I just learned that the Twin Lakes Camp told the story of Esther all summer long. We’re going to try to do it in thirty minutes! Chapter 1. We’ll go through the chapters, I’ll give you a title, tell you what’s there, and...

Rewire

Back at the end of chapter 9, in the very last verse, Paul has been talking at the end of chapter 9 about his self-discipline as he lives the Christian life and as he fulfills the ministry Christ has given to him. And in the very last verse of the chapter, he explains one of the concerns that has animated and driven that commitment to self-discipline. He says...

September

Rewire

Paul, you will remember, has been defending himself against those who have been criticizing his ministry. As he does so, in the second half of the chapter, we've seen him give us something of an extended discussion of his own approach to Gospel ministry. And last time, you will recall, we were in verses 19 to 23 and we noticed the direction in which Paul is turned and...

Os Guinness, wonderful Christian author, told a story I heard once about a Japanese haiku poet. And I have to admit that’s the first time I’ve probably ever read one of those things! But this guy’s name was Issa; I can’t pronounce his first name. But this poet had a tragic life. His mother died when he was young and he lived in the 17th  century or so...

Rewire

Paul, you will remember, has been defending his ministry. He would not take a salary from the Corinthians. Some of them felt that was grounds to begin undermining his ministry. They could not control him, you see, if they couldn’t pay for him. And so they began to insinuate that perhaps Paul ought not to be trusted. “He’s not a real apostle, after all.” And so for most of chapter...

Jim Carrey, hilarious actor. One thing I’ve enjoyed about him over the past few years is he’s made some pretty serious films and he won some awards for those films. And he was called upon in 2015 to give a speech at the Golden Globes. And when he walks on stage, he’s just kind of funny, so these A-listers in Hollywood, he just walked out and they all...

Back in 1999, my dad had to have some serious heart surgery. And one of my great memories growing up with my dad was grilling steaks with him and eating ribs. That all went away! After heart surgery, he had drastic changes to his diet. But I've been interested in that ever since, and I read a study recently from Dr. Edward Miller, who is the CEO and...

Rewire

We’ll be focusing on verses 15 through 18. You can find they’re on page 957 if you’re using one of our church Bibles. You will remember, if you’ve been with us, the story so far. Paul is responding to a letter that has reached him from Corinth raising a number of practical and theological questions that were troubling the believers there. And beginning last week, we saw Paul defending his...

Well as a child of the 1980s – it’s been a while since we’ve had an 80s reference, so que is up! As a child of the 1980s, the big movie when I was growing up was Back to the Future starring Michael J. Fox and he played the Marty McFly character. So if you’ve ever seen the movie, Marty McFly is the cool guy. His dad is...

Rewire

Last time in chapter 8, if you were with us, you will recall Paul was responding to a problem presented to him by the Corinthians in their letter to him. The problem was food offered to idols. And as he worked through that problem, he articulated a timeless principle. The principle is, that love constrains liberty. That is to say, though we may know the truth, knowing the...

Blog Entry on Sep 1, 2017

PCA Disaster Relief for Harvey and Irma: Mission to North America Disaster Response is in contact with local leadership at numerous PCA congregations in the impacted area. The Diaconate of FPC Jackson remains in contact with MNA to determine how we can best help now and on an ongoing basis. The most immediate need is for funds to provide supplies. Please consider giving directly to MNA to fund these efforts by...

August

Rewire

Let me again welcome you if you are visiting. We’re so glad you’re here. I know some of you are students returning or you’re family members with your children coming to college. We’re so glad that you are here. If we can serve you in any way at all, please will you let me know? I’ll be at the back as you leave, the North State Street entrance. I’d love...

Sermon on Aug 27, 2017

John 6:44

If you have your Bibles, please take them and turn to the gospel of John, chapter 6; you’ll find it on page 892. If you’re using a pew Bible, 892. Just one verse tonight, but I’ll read beginning at verse 41 of John chapter 6. Before we hear the Word of God, let’s go to Him in prayer.

Our Father, we long for the...

Rewire

 In our morning services, we’ve been working through 1 Corinthians together. And in chapter 7, we’re in the second half of chapter 7 this morning, Paul has been responding to some questions the Corinthians have asked him about singleness and marriage. He’s concluding this part of his discussion about singleness and marriage in the last chunk of the chapter, verses 25 to 40. You’ll find it on page...

When four-year-old Sidney Fahrenbruch moved to Colorado, she did what any sensible new homeowner would do. She found the nearest police officer and asked him promptly to check the home for monsters. She'd done her own spade work but wanted to make sure there were no monsters. So Officer Bonday of the Colorado Police Department showed up at her house and walked through with little Sidney to make...

I came across a book this week, started flipping through it – Junk. The subtitle of it was, “Digging Through America’s Love Affair with Stuff.” Junk was the first title of the book, written by Alison Stewart. And here’s the deal. She was talking about how much stuff we have, how much abundance we have in this culture we live in, so much so that, she says this. “Self-storage has its...

The action all takes place – a rather familiar story – it all takes place at a dinner party in the home of a Pharisee, a religious leader of the time, a Pharisee by the name of Simon. It was customary among Pharisees, especially on the Sabbath Day after Sabbath worship, to bring a guest of honor home and have a large Sabbath meal with your Pharisee friends...

Now as has been said, we have, tonight, the great joy of celebrating with John and Kelley Beth as the presbytery of the Mississippi Valley ordains John into the Gospel ministry and sends him back to India to proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ. If I can presume to speak for a moment on behalf of your church family here at First Pres, we want you to know...

Rewire

Now you may remember that Paul has been dealing with the tangled, confused thinking of the Corinthians, particularly in the area of sex and sexuality. And so chapters 5 and 6, Paul dealt with one extreme of this problem at Corinth where there were those who, though they’ve come to join themselves to the church and professed faith in Jesus, nevertheless had a very hard time indeed leaving...

July

When Jesus gives you a gift, it’s a good thing to consider why He gives you that gift, to understand what it’s for, to understand what it’s supposed to produce in your life and the life of the congregation. And that’s what Paul is talking about here. This whole section that we’re going to look at begins with Paul quoting loosely from a psalm. And he explains that...

This congregation that received this letter – and really, the letter sounds almost like a sermon. If you’ve ever heard people quote sections of the book of Hebrews, it sounds like a sermon. It has that sermonic role. Remember how Derek, he’d start off slow, you know, and then he’d build up speed and it was just like a freight train moving down! This book has that feel...

And just before we read, something to consider. My life was forever altered as a child when my dad introduced me to my now all-time favorite movie that I have seen probably 923 times, Hoosiers. And it is about the Indiana high school basketball team, the Hickory Huskers. And I adore the film. As a child, I loved it because of the underdog, David versus Goliath, theme. And I...

What is it that drives you? We’re going to come back to that question in just a little while, but for now, what motivates you? Why do we do the things that we do and pursue the goals that we pursue? What occupies our thoughts when we have moments when we are not distracted? It seems like a pretty basic question, doesn’t it? But I would guess that...

He is still the leading scorer in NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball, and he achieved that record before the three-point shot and when freshmen were not allowed to play varsity sports. So he missed a year and he still holds the scoring record. But when “Pistol Pete” Maravich left LSU, he enjoyed a great NBA career. And in his mid-forties, he was out near his home in Pasadena...

And you see, as we come to Zephaniah 3 tonight, we’re in that same position as these two lovers in that song. There’s a language barrier between God and us. He is holy and we are not. Just like there was a language barrier between the Italian and the American, there’s a language barrier between us. And yet we come to a Bible verse tonight that could share...

And just to give you a clue where we’re going in the next couple of Sundays in the evenings, we’ll be looking at 3:14-16 tonight and then next Sunday evening, Lord willing, we’ll look at what has been called “the John 3:16 of the Old Testament” – Zephaniah 3:17, which is one of my favorite Bible verses. So I’ve been thinking about these verses for a while and...

What is "The Peace of Belonging"? Well, maybe we should start by defining, "What is belonging?" Let me tell you where I want to go in this sermon today. We want to talk about what is belonging, we want to talk about what belonging looks like, and then we’ll finish with asking the question, “Why does it matter?”

Rewire

1 Corinthians chapter 7 – let me just give you an outline of some things to look for. This is where we'll be going as we work through the material and then we'll read it together after we pray. First of all, Paul is going to teach us about singleness and the gift of God. Singleness and the gift of God. Then secondly, divorce and the Word of...

Would you look at it with me just for a moment before we read it together and let me give you these four headings? First of all, in verses 1 and 2, there is prayer. The psalmist is praying. Then in verses 3 and 4, there is preaching – although he's still in this mode of prayer, he's really speaking to his own heart as much as he...

June

Rewire

Now a cursory glance at the direct and pointed discussion of marital union that we find in our passage will immediately reveal to you that the author could not possibly have come from the British Isles. This is a passage I have been dreading since we began 1 Corinthians and so here at last it is. It is, let's be clear, a very open discussion of a very...

Sermon on Jun 24, 2017

Psalm 87

This is a psalm that celebrates the glories of Zion, the city of God, Jerusalem. Although as we’ll see, the psalmist has in mind an idealized Zion; not just the earthly city of Jerusalem with which he was familiar, but the spiritual city of God whose citizens are drawn from every tribe and language and nation under heaven. Or to put it perhaps more directly, Psalm 87 celebrates...

Sermon on Jun 17, 2017

Isaiah 1:18-20

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of preaching on Isaiah 30 and we centered on verse 18, which the best Old Testament scholars tell us is the hinge on which the entire prophecy swings. It’s not just the backbeat, the undercurrent, the ground-beat of all of Isaiah’s prophecy. In fact, we could make a case for saying it’s the centerpiece for all of Scripture. You...

Rewire

Now 1 Corinthians chapter 6:12-20. You will remember where Paul has been so far in the first four chapters of 1 Corinthians. He’s been talking about the believers' overweening pride there and how that had led to really deep division, factionalism, dividing the congregations at Corinth. And then he spoke about one very specific and egregious case of open and scandalous sexual immorality and how that ought to...

Let’s look briefly at Ahab’s faith because it does help us understand more clearly Obadiah’s faith. It provides a backdrop or a foil for it. Ahab’s faith is simple to understand. It’s faith in Ahab. It’s faith in Ahab. Ahab has been faced with the man of God speaking the Word of God, “There’s no more rain until I say,” and he knows why – because he has...

Rewire

Let’s think about the word of warning Paul gives us here first of all. Would you look with me at verses 9 and 10 please? One of the great temptations when you come to this passage is to focus prematurely on the list of sins that will exclude a person from the kingdom of God and to skip right over the nature of the problem itself at Corinth. We talked about the...

First of all, think with me about the Savior that we need. The story goes that one day the great 18th  century, nonconformist preacher and hymn-writer, Augustus Toplady, was traveling along the gorge of Burrington Combe in the Mendip Hills near the village of Blagdon in England where he had been preaching when he was suddenly caught in a terrible storm. And as the wind and the rain...

Rewire

If we were to identify the problem at the root of the mess at Corinth, the best diagnosis that I’ve come across is what one commentator calls “Gospel amnesia.” Gospel Amnesia – that’s what they suffer from at Corinth. I read a story – actually I saw this story on a news website the other day about a man called Benjamin Kyle who was found beaten and abandoned...

May

Sermon on May 27, 2017

Isaiah 30

I want to offer you a challenge. That is, to put your bulletin in your Bible when you go home, and come back to this chapter. I’d encourage you to read this chapter and camp in it for a while as I have been camping in it because it’s profound. What God promises and what He warns will be the bookends of your Christian experience. I’ll come back...

Sermon on May 27, 2017

Acts 9:31

I want us to study this verse along two points tonight. The first is – built up. And then the second is – built out. Built up and built out. We’ll spend most of our time on the first one, and that’s where we’ll start, with built up.

The Search for Significance, Security, and Satisfaction

Written by Solomon, son of David, King of Israel, he calls himself the preacher there in verses 1 and 2, the book of Ecclesiastes is the search for Solomon’s quest to find satisfaction for the deep longings of his heart. If you read it over – you can do it, it’s not long, you can do it in about twenty, maybe twenty-five minutes – if you read over...

Rewire

Church discipline, I suspect you all would agree with this, church discipline is relatively easy to say we believe in, and really very hard to practice, certainly to practice consistently. One study I read conducted by the Barna Research Group found that only 5% of Christians in America indicated that their churches did anything to hold them accountable for what they believed or how they lived – 5%...

The Search for Significance, Security, and Satisfaction

Sermon on May 13, 2017

Psalm 16

Psalm 16 is a prayer for security. It was written almost 3,000 years ago by King David. He is asking God to protect him and deliver him from threatening circumstances. “Preserve me, O God?” he prays in verse 1. “My flesh dwells secure,” he is able to say in faith in verse 9. David is looking for security from God. And what I want to do as we consider Psalm...

Rewire

Well before we begin, let me once again wish all the moms in the congregation a very happy Mother’s Day. At a time when families are under so many pressures from our culture, the calling of a mother demands sacrifice and courage and perseverance. We’re right to celebrate the great gift you all are to our families and to our church. We are very thankful for...

Rewire

So as I say, Paul wants to deal with the sin of pride. That has been his theme, in one way or another, hasn’t it, since the second half of chapter 1. It really has dominated this whole opening section of 1 Corinthians. You can see it clearly enough in the passage before us this morning if you look at the end of verse 6. He says he...

The Search for Significance, Security, and Satisfaction

Now there are three characters in this familiar little drama, aren’t there? There’s the younger brother who takes his inheritance and squanders it. There is the older brother who stays at home working for his father. And there’s the father himself, who has to deal with his two boys and who does it, as we’ve seen, with such remarkable tenderness and generosity. And we’re simply going to look...

April

Rewire

I wonder if you remember these moments on Monday, August 29, 2005, when Hurricane Katrina began to batter the coastline down on the Gulf of Mexico. On that day, brigadier general, Matthew Broderick was on duty at the Homeland Security Operations Center which is responsible for assessing really any threat of any kind to national security, whether it’s terrorism or natural disaster, and then relaying it to the...

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

Well, we were treated to, what I understand now is one of the top three greatest hits of the Day School play catalog, the “Barnyard Praise” of the kindergarten! That was a first for us. And just as an aside, thank you, Gary and the staff, everybody at the Day School. This is such an amazing ministry of our church and we were just, Callie and I were...

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

Chuck Swindoll tells the story of a young man in Long Beach, California who decided to go by his favorite fried chicken place one day – never a bad idea! – to get some lunch for him and his date and he got the bag and he went out to meet his date and he opened up the bag and it turned out that the employee who was...

Rewire

You will have noticed as we read it through together, the passage divides into two neat sections, each part with three verses in each, both of which begin with a word of exhortation. Do you see that in the text? Verse 18 – the first exhortation. “Let no one deceive himself.” Then verse 21, the second exhortation – “Let no one boast in men.” Those are the two...

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

A pastor I follow on Twitter told a story recently. He was at the movies with his kids and having done that not too long ago with my three girls, the previews get a little bit longer when you’re a parent. Don’t they? They sit there and wait and they’re ready to see this movie. Well, that’s what this pastor was encountering with his sons. One of his...

First is the guilt of the righteous. The righteous, the righteous one is Jesus. Jesus is the one who knew no sin. He knew no sin. There is nothing in Jesus that is selfish. There is nothing in Jesus that is unloving or impatient or rash. Everything about Jesus is pure and holy and spotless and upright. There is in the Biblical portraits of Jesus a captivating beauty...

Rewire

Let’s try to fix the image in our minds. Here’s a great construction site. First of all, the foundation must be excavated then carefully laid. And then each layer of the superstructure build upon that foundation with equal care. And there are, on that great construction site, different workers with different roles, swarming all over the place about their tasks – architects, project managers, structural engineers, electrical engineers...

Rewire

When we were first married, my wife, Sheena, worked as a community nurse in a town called Airdrie between Glasgow and Edinburgh in central Scotland. And her job took her oftentimes into the homes of some quite poor families, usually to check up on newborn babies and their mothers. And one of the things that the practice she worked at would sometimes have to deal with was what...

March

Rewire

In the opening verses of this portion of the chapter, Paul is wrestling with the way in which the world receives, or rather rejects, does not receive the wisdom of God but regards it as foolishness. And I was reminded of a story, probably apocryphal, about the way in which our presuppositions often color our conclusions. It’s a story that has resonated deeply with me for reasons that...

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

How would you like to have this nickname, “The Most Hated Man in America!” Want to know how bad it was for this guy? The one thing, I think that then-candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump agreed upon, was they both said this guy was absolutely without a doubt the worst man in America. Was he a serial rapist? A murderer? No. Who was he? He was Martin...

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

A 1989 movie, Casualties of War, which starred Michael J. Fox and Sean Penn, told the story of a group of soldiers during the Vietnam War who committed a horrible crime, and one of the soldiers, played by Michael J. Fox, Private Eriksson, witnesses this crime but doesn’t participate in it and doesn’t do anything to stop it. And there’s this scene in the movie where his conscience begins...

Rewire

Well, this is one of only a few passages in the New Testament where Paul speaks in an autobiographical mode and he is remarkably candid about himself as he does so. Don’t you think? Look at some of the languages that he uses to describe his first coming to the Corinthian believers. Verse 3, “I was with you in weakness and fear and much trembling. My speech and...

Sermon on Mar 11, 2017

Psalm 32

This psalm has two main parts, two main halves to it. Verses 1 through 5 is about forgiveness. And in the second part, verses 6 through 11, is about God’s protection and direction. I remember studying this psalm in seminary. It was one I did an exegesis paper on. I had to study the Hebrew, the original language, and this long paper about this psalm. And in it...

I want us to see three things from this passage this morning. I want us to see first the love of Jesus, secondly the sympathy of Jesus, and finally the instruction of Jesus. The love, the sympathy, and the instruction of Jesus.

Understanding Islam

Engaging with Muslims, Sharing Good News

Seminar on Mar 5, 2017

Not a typical message, not a typical passage you’d expect to be read at a Missions Conference. I was teaching a Bible study for a group of men and there were several non-Christians in that group and after we read the passage one of these non-Christian men said – one of the reasons I like studying the Bible with non-Christians, they tell you the things we don’t dare...

Now the traditional way of understanding this passage is that Jesus basically took them through a kind of a proof-texting of the Old Testament where He showed them the verses that prophesied about His coming. This approach to understanding the Bible this way is often called the crimson thread of Scripture. It comes from that story about Rahab, the harlot, who was to hang a crimson thread in...

February

Deep and Wide

So as we talk about our motivations for missions, let’s just go ahead and stop pretending and let’s go ahead and confess that we are a people in our day and time that are not very good at defining and even naming or even knowing our motivations for anything. Can we just rest by acknowledging that? Everybody say, “Amen!” If anybody asks you – this is how you’re...

Deep and Wide

Sermon on Feb 25, 2017

Hebrews 13

When he says here, “Remember your leaders,” what he’s saying here is – I’m reminded of what Paul, when he writes Timothy, he says, “I long to be with you.” Do you hear that? He has spent time with Timothy training him in the Gospel, and he can’t be with him geographically. And he says, “I long to be with you so that my joy may be full.”...

Isn’t it amazing how many of our memories are tied to certain smells? I’m going home in a few weeks back to South Carolina, and to this day, when I walk through the front door of the house where I grew up, a wall of memories hits me when I smell that house because it smells exactly the same way it did when I was Garner’s age. And...

We’re on the doorstep of our Mission Conference as Gabe reminded us. Our theme this year for the conference is “Deep and Wide.” You’ll receive something in the mail from the church, a Mission Conference booklet, with a letter of explanation, even a pledge card, an invitation to engage, to pray, to invest yourself, even to sacrifice for the sake of this mission that is rooted in this...

Rewire

Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, one of the great evangelical noble women of England in the first half of the 18th century during the Great Awakening, she was a supporter and a patron of the early Methodists, especially of the ministry of the great George Whitefield, and she used to say that she knew she was going to get to heaven thanks entirely to the letter “M.”...

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

We moved to Mississippi about a year-and-a-half ago and after being here just a short time we really can’t imagine living anywhere else, but one of the things we miss about where we used to live in Raleigh, North Carolina, is that our family lived about five to ten minutes from my older brother and his family. And so it was not uncommon on weekends that we’d get...

This is God’s Word and by it, He intends to shape not only our thinking but the affections of our hearts and this is what we’re trusting Him to do. With that in mind, let me tell you where I’ve been thinking and studying over the past several weeks, even months. For whatever the reason, the Lord has had Emily and me both reading and talking, marinating and...

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

One author tells the story of Sam. It’s right after the Civil War and he was freed, but unlike so many at that time, he loved his master and his master loved him. His master was old when he was set free and so Sam cared for him until his master, Tom, died. And after his master died, Sam lived in a ramshackle little hut. He had really...

January

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

Sermon on Jan 28, 2017

James 4:1-5

Do you want to age well? That is a silly question. Everybody in here does. And I was reading a study recently. The most comprehensive, longitudinal study ever conducted by Harvard. It’s called the Grant Study. And they followed the lives of this remarkable class from Harvard in the ‘30s – like John F. Kennedy was part of this class. They followed these men’s lives for over seventy...

Rewire

The great German reformer, Martin Luther, I think understood the inner logic of our passage when he used the old Latin phrase, “crux probat omnia;” “crux probat omnia” – the cross is the test of everything. The cross is the test of everything. You see for Christians, the cross of Jesus Christ isn’t simply the center and the foundation of our faith and devotion. It becomes the gauge and the standard by...

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

As you’re taking a seat, if you would take your Bibles and turn with me to the book of James. We’re finishing up chapter 3, tonight in our study in this wonderful New Testament book. James 3, and we’ll be looking at verses 13 to 18. You’ll find that on page 1012 if you’re using a pew Bible. And if you’re a visitor, great to have you...

Rewire

Now if you would please take your Bibles in your hands and turn with me to Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians chapter 1; page 952 if you’re using one of our church Bibles. We have, over the last few weeks, been working our way through the book of 1 Corinthians and so far we’ve seen Paul introducing himself and some of the major...

The Gospel for the Rest of Us

Something Callie and I were laughing about the other day, or this just may be way too silly, but ridiculous nursery rhymes. Okay? So one of them that we all know is, “Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop…” Now I am a fairly young dad, but I’m pretty sure in all the “Parenting 101” books I read there was never a suggestion nor a direction to get kids to...

Rewire

So as I said, this is Paul’s spiritual biography of the Corinthian believers. Here’s what grace has done in them, is doing in them. Here’s what grace may yet be doing or may yet still do among us. And as we look over these six verses, I want to highlight four aspects in particular of the Christian life that we find here that Paul celebrates in the Corinthians...

Rewire

In one of my favorite TV shows, the opening sequence is often made up of a kind of montage of clips from previous episodes in which each character is introducing himself to someone else so that by the time of the opening credits, we’ve been reminded of all the principle figures in the storyline that are about to unfold in that episode. In some ways, that is precisely...

Back to Top