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Showing posts from May, 2013

Ancient Stories Week One: "The (Very) Reluctant Hero"

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This Sunday we'll begin a brand new sermon series that will begin our church's journey through the Old Testament.  We'll be encountering some of the great characters in Scripture along the way---characters that undoubtedly dominated many a Sunday school class for some of us church-y types.

I'd like to think that this sermon series is kind of a "Sunday School Remixed," sort of thing.  We're going to be going over some familiar ground for many of our church members but hopefully we'll all learn some things that surprise us when we do.  And if you are tuning in and you don't have much of a history with the Bible---you will definitely get the chance to learn more than you bargained for if we do this right...

Part One of this first series in our study is centered on the story of Gideon and is entitled: "Ancient Stories: The (Very) Reluctant Hero."  This story comes right out of Judges chapters 6 & Judges chapter 7

In the first lines of…

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: Daily Devotions

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I've been thinking about some ways to share what I have been learning lately about personal reflection, Bible study and prayer.  If I had to distill my learnings down to one basic idea it would simply be this:  Without personal reflection, Bible study and prayer my life would be in a shambles.

So with this in mind, I thought I would entitle this little series: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself.   Intrigued?  You bet you are.

Today's installment has to do with Daily Devotions.  When I was a kid growing up in fundamentalist Christian world, the very best Christians were the ones who would pepper their conversations with phrases like: "Today when I was reading my Bible..." or "Can I just share something I learned today from my devotions...?"  or "I was just praying during my quiet time today and God was just in the room man..."

These people always ticked me off.  I wanted to thump them with a Bible.  A really... big... Bible.

It's diffic…

Big Church Week Six: "En Fuego"

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This week I am concluding the sermon series, "Big Church," which has been both a study in the book of Acts and a vision for the way the Church should be in the world.

I admit that I write that last bit with a certain amount of confidence, which might be interpreted by some as presumptuous.  "Who are you," they might ask, "to determine how the Church should be in the world?  What are your qualifications?  What right do you have to speak for the rest of us?"

Or something to that effect.

I don't have the right to speak for anyone, honestly.  I'm simply a pastor of a medium-sized church in a small town in the middle of Florida.  It takes me forty minutes to find a Whole Foods Market, or a proper Starbucks.  My platform isn't very large, and I have no national audience to speak of.

But for the past several years something has been stirring in my heart, and as I read the story of the Church in Scripture I begin to catch glimpses of what makes th…

Big Church Week Five: "Jailhouse Rock"

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This week I am preaching the fifth installment of the sermon series, "Big Church" a study in the book of Acts.  The basic premise of this sermon series is that Jesus did not establish an institution, he established a movement.  Unfortunately, his followers over the years didn't get that memo because the Church in all of her tarnished glory is most definitely an institution.  Which is why, in my opinion, that so many people have given up on the Church.

But I think there's another way---and I am not alone.  There is a growing number of people who are waking up to the fact that Jesus did not create a mission for the Church, he created a church for His mission.  The mission, you see, was established long before the Church.  And it's high time we figured this out and got down to the business of moving the Movement Jesus founded.

This week we will be studying one of the more familiar stories in the book of Acts---the story of Paul & Silas in the Philippian jail f…

Big Church Week Four: "Lydia's Story"

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This week we are continuing the sermon series, "Big Church," a study in the book of Acts that is based on the following premise:  Jesus didn't create a mission for the Church, he created a Church for His Mission."  In other words, the Church is a movement and not an institution.

The passage of Scripture that we are plunging into this Sunday is from Acts chapter 16:9-15---the story of the conversion of Lydia.

Here's the text:

9 During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. 11 From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. 12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district[a] of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. 13 On the Sabbath we went…