Sermon Blog - Entries from July 2012

    SunSundayJulJuly29th2012 Blessed: Compelled to Share
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Mark Romans 0 comments Add comment

    This sermon wraps up our “Blessed” series.  The Bible shows us how to live with not only contentment, but joy in realizing all that God has done for us.  God has prepared each one of us to serve Him in ways that will bring Him honor and glory.  We’ve looked at the scripture to encourage us to make wise choices with our possessions so we might be able to make loving choices with what God has blessed us with.  And this week we end our series looking at where all things should lead – to Christians sharing our faith with others. 

    When we realize that God has blessed us much more than we deserve, when we have much more than we could ask for – no amount of good living, great giving, or anything else should pacify us to where we don’t feel Compelled to Share.

    So what is the biggest example we can see where people around us tell others about something specific?  Marketing.  The best way to market in the past was to put up billboards, run commercials or ads, direct mail, or other mass-marketing techniques.  While this is still used and useful, the most effective form of advertising has always been friend-to-friend.  Whether it’s emailing your friends about a product, telling someone your experiences face-to-face over lunch, liking something on Facebook, or other personal ways to share something with others, we all “market” what we like or enjoy in some form or fashion.  It’s just that in today’s society, technology has made that much easier, broader, and lucrative.  But even if you just look to a toddler nursery and notice how a neglected toy becomes every child’s desire as soon as they see 1 person playing with it, you will realize a basic truth:  seeing other people enjoy something makes us want to have it.  And we’re all much more likely to trust a friend on whether something is a ‘must have’ over an advertisement.

    So if this is an essential truth in every other part of life, why do we leave telling others about Christ up to mostly mass-marketing techniques?  Wouldn’t people be more likely to accept an invitation to church or a small group Bible study, wouldn’t they be more attentive to a discussion about the love of God, wouldn’t they be more likely to respond to the pleas of a friend instead of someone they don’t know?

    Mark 5: 1-5

    Romans 10: 8-15

    Audio Pathway_2012_7_29.mp3
    SunSundayJulJuly22nd2012 Blessed: Investment Portfolio

    We started the series “Blessed” looking at how many live with a perception of “half-empty” instead of realizing what God has given us.  Last week we talked about how God wants us to give Him back a return in what He has given us in the way of our gifts of service.  Today we’re finally getting to the sermon that everyone always expects when you hear that our sermon series is going to be about stewardship.  But although the subject of money is very important, realizing how we’re blessed in every way and how we can serve God are just as important.  But we can’t leave it there. 

    Jesus preached about money almost as much as any other topic in His ministry.  Why?  Because as you all know, money can be a source of blessing or just as likely, something that causes hardship.  But it’s not the money – it’s how we view its importance.  That’s why today we’re going to talk about our Investment Portfolio.  Here are a few of the points we’ll cover in today’s sermon.

    “OWE NOTHING”  what does that mean?  Scripture tells us to have freedom of law & conscience.

    Romans 13: 3-8

    Wealth is not wrong, but the scripture tells us to have a clear purpose for our wealth and for our lives.

    Luke 12: 13-21

    We should earn in order to be rich in good deeds – everything else is temporary and joy is fleeting.

    1 Timothy 6: 17-19

    It is a commandment to give.  We should give from the heart.

    2 Corinthians 9: 6-15

    Audio Pathway_2012_7_22.mp3
    SunSundayJulJuly15th2012 Blessed: Dividends
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged 1 Peter Matthew Romans 0 comments Add comment

    Last week we started the series “Blessed”.  We started with a sermon called “Perception Creates Reality”.  We took a look at what truly being blessed means and tried to strip away the false ideas that lead us to always seeing the glass half empty.  If we live with a perception of “half-empty,” we overload ourselves trying to do things that we believe will make us happy, only to find that when we obtain that desire, there is always something more.  Because if you’re living a life where you are never content or do not at least have the understanding about how blessed we really are, then your obsession with pleasing “you” will keep you from serving God, your family, your friends, your church, and your community. 

    This week we’re moving on to talk about your strengths & skills and your ability to serve others.   Every person is designed with a strength that God has put in you.  He has made you in the way in which He wants you to serve.  The question is, are you ready?  Today’s sermon is called Dividends.  God has invested in you.  It is our responsibility to bring a return on that investment for the glory of God and to further His kingdom.

    Here are a few questions we’ll answer today:  What does God expect, what will He accept, and what will God reject?

    Romans 15: 1-2

    1 Peter 4: 10-11

    Matthew 25: 14-29

     

    Audio Pathway_2012_7_15.mp3
    SatSaturdayJulJuly14th2012 FEEDBACK: You were bought at a price
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged No tags 0 comments Add comment

    On Sunday, one of the “NEXT STEPS” was this:

    1 Corinthians 6 says “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.”  Email what that means to you.

    Below are some of the responses we received this week on the passage from 1 Corinthians 6: 19, 20.  Thanks for everyone’s input on this.  Tomorrow we’re going to continue our series Blessed and talk about how God’s gift to us should change the way we view or lives. 

    1 Corinthians 6: 19-20


    What does being bought with a price mean to me?

    Christ paid a high price for us by dying on the cross for our sins...but in my mind, there is even more to it than that.  To me, the fact that God Himself left a perfect heaven, where everything is beautiful and wonderful; where there is no sin, no death, no pain.... and CHOSE to come down here in the form of man and live life as a human on this earth full of sin, death, pain, sickness, etc... is quite a price to pay, in and of itself.  Add to that, the fact that even though Jesus lived a perfect life here on earth, he willingly suffered a horrible, long, and gruesome death on the cross - all of this in order to pay the ultimate price for us... Amazing. Grace.



    What right do I have to do things selfishly when He gave His life to save me. He commanded me to live a certain way and tell people about Him. He paid my debt, I belong to Him, therefore I should have to do what He tells me to.

    Verse 20 of course cannot be understood without verse 19. This verse lays down the basis for a believer’s conversion. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God is simultaneous with the New Birth. This birth suggests the joining of two entities. This merging of entities takes place when a person becomes willing to conform his/her will to the will of God. God is not willing that any should perish so His will is always receptive to those seeking Him. We cannot expect an all wise and an all powerful God to shape His will to fit our particular whims. Instead we must become willing to conform our will to His standards. That doesn’t mean we will immediately know what His will for us is but it does mean that we must be willing to do His will when we learn what it is. This reshaping of our will is elsewhere called repentance.  Now, I am aware that some Baptists insist that repentance is a work and thus not necessary for salvation. Others say little about it because it makes people uncomfortable. But Jesus thought it was important because He stated that without it all would perish.

    Now, if we are trying to conform our will to His will, how can we continue in the filthy housekeeping of our body that we carried on before we agreed with God to change our will. We should be willing to provide the very best quarters that we can for our heavenly guest, who is God in the Spirit.
     



    It is possible to write about this verse strictly from a spiritual point of view because our lives here on this earth encompass the spiritual, mental and physical all wrapped up in one body.  I can see that God is sending us the recipe for “the good life” so to speak all in just a few words.  The first ingredient for this good life is to know we have a relationship with God through faith then no matter where we find ourselves, no matter what events happen to us while there and no matter what the future will hold we are “one” with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  What we tend to forget is that by sharing our bodies with our heavenly Father we fail to “keep house”.  He is reminding us that if we respect our Lord and Master we need to provide a proper “Temple” for the dwelling place that is His and ours while we travel this earthy journey.  I pray each day to be a better housekeeper in my temple.
     


    I think these verses are highlighted in two parts. First, the end of 6:10 "But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." showing that we should be different than the rest of the world because we have been made different.  Second, 6:19-20 "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body." reflecting back to we should be different than the rest of the world and therefore should behave differently.
     

     
    It's too small a phrase for something so massive.  Having rarely to never experienced being "bought" in order to be or do anything honorable with myself, the concept of being bought out of a life that was dishonorable, in order to be honorable was beyond just foreign, it was unimaginable.

    Another way of explaining this is being bought out of slavery, and then having the choice to either stay enslaved or leave the slave auction, and be free.
     



    Because I have personally made the decision to accept Christ, I am completely free of the burden that once held me back. Christ sacrifice of His perfectly sinless life was more than enough to atone for the sins of the world. Because of this, it is now my duty to live my life for His glory. "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:17)



    To me it means that my life is part of something much greater than myself.  It means that I don't always get to do what I want to do because God has bought the rights to my life with His blood.
     

    To me, this verse means that who I am is not just not me. Everything in my life now belongs to God, and I gladly give it to Him. I give it gladly for Him because Christ gave His life for me.
     



    To me this means we do not belong to this world. The one who bought us does not belong to this world and we are His. Because of this we should not live for this world but for the One who bought us. The One who paid the ultimate sacrifice for us, so that we do not have to conform to the wicked ways of this world. I am thankful that I am not my own. I belong to Him who is perfect in every way, and in that I have joy.



    One person linked to a YouTube video giving an example of the idea from these verses:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF3FX43F-7Y



    Another gave a link to a sermon video clip that carries on the idea that no matter what we face, we can rely on God and feel Blessed.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6GitV-wD6Y


    Thanks again for everyone who took the time to give your thoughts on that scripture from 1 Corinthians 6.  Looking forward to Sunday!

    SunSundayJulJuly8th2012 Blessed: Perception Creates Reality
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Philippians Romans 0 comments Add comment
    This is the first sermon in a series called "Blessed".  For the next 4 weeks we're going to look at how to change our lives by first changing the way we understand what God has done for us and what He expects from us.  Once we start looking at ourselves through God's eyes, we will truly realize how blessed we are and desire to bless others through serving Him.

    As we look at the series “Blessed”, I’m afraid that many of us can become so focused on what we don’t have that if we can’t get everything we want, we choose to destroy what we do have.  Instead of taking joy and finding peace in what God has blessed us with, we obsess and weigh ourself down with the unnecessary pursuit of possessions we don’t need.  Or we become depressed about the characteristics or skills we don’t possess.  We overload ourselves trying to do things that we believe will make us happy, only to find that when we obtain that desire, there is always something more.

    Today’s sermon is called “Perception Creates Reality”.  This isn’t a series to make you feel bad about having things.  On the contrary, the Bible is clear that God wants His children to be blessed.  We’re simply going to take a look at what truly being blessed means and strip away the false ideas that lead us to always seeing the glass half empty.  Because if you’re living a life where you are never content or don't at least have the understanding about how blessed we really are, then you’re obsession with pleasing “you” will keep you from serving God, your family, your friends, your church, your community.

    Romans 15: 1-9

    Philippians 4: 11b - 13

    Romans 5: 1-2
    Audio Pathway_2012_07_08.mp3

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