Sermon Blog - Entries from September 2012

    SunSundaySepSeptember30th2012 Samson: It's Our Choice

    This summer we went through a series of character studies from the book of Judges.  We skipped over chapters 13-16 because I wanted to do a series on Samson by himself.  Samson is one of the more well known Old Testament characters even though his recorded life consists of only 4 chapters and half a dozen short stories.  But it’s his overwhelming power that makes him noticeable.  And it’s his utter failure and redemption that makes him memorable.  But we’re not going to get into all of those details today.  This morning I want to look at his potential – the fact that God gave Samson a special opportunity to serve Him from his birth.  As we see the miracle concerning the birth of Samson and the vow that was made by his parents, keep in mind that although Samson was set up for success, it was still his choice as to whether or not he would honor God.

    In our world and in our own lives, you often see people use their past situation to explain where their life is at today.  If we were set up for success and fail, then we might blame the pressures of high expectations on our failures.  If we were born into a life and family with little in the way of positive factors for success then we can write off our deficiencies on the cards we were dealt.  But at some point in life we need to wake up to the realization that we are the ones responsible for the choices we make, and while our past does influence our life in many ways, we are now the ones who must answer to God for whether or not we decide to honor Him.

    Judges 13: 1-5

    Numbers 6: 1-8

    Numbers 6:18

    Judges 13: 19-25

    Ezekiel 18:20

    1 John 1: 8-10

    Audio Pathway_2012_09_30.mp3
    SunSundaySepSeptember23rd2012 Renaissance: Changing Our View
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Jonah Luke 0 comments Add comment

    As we wrap up our series “Renaissance,” I want us to take a look at how we view others.  In the end, no matter what we know about the Bible, no matter how prepared we are to serve, no matter how focused we are as a church, if we don’t see people the way God sees people then we aren’t going to be motivated to reach them.

    Today we’re going to look at two stories:  one is the story of Jonah and the other is of Jesus as He rides into Jerusalem for the last time.  One story exposes how our humanity can get in the way of our need to care for the salvation of others and the other story details the love of God in spite of the rejection & hate our human nature thrust upon Him.  In the end, we have to examine our hearts to see which story best resembles the way we see our community.

    Jonah 3: 1-10

    Jonah 4: 1-5, 11

    Luke 19: 36-44

    Audio Pathway_2012_09_23.mp3
    SunSundaySepSeptember16th2012 Renaissance: Following Daily
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Luke 0 comments Add comment

    In the process of going through our lives in such a hurry, we often miss the little things of life that are really important.  That’s kind of what this series has been about.  As a church, we need to take a pause long enough to evaluate what we’re doing and what we’re here for.

    As kids many of us had someone older than us that we followed around.  Most of the time we were probably just a pest to them but we lived for those moments every once in a while when they acted like they wanted us around and made us feel important.  They were “cool” in our eyes and embodied everything we wanted to be.  Then as we got older and our lives changed, or our impression of them changed, we started following after other things.  Often we can look back at some of those so-called role models and be extremely thankful we veered off the path of becoming like them.

    At times we go through the same things with our spirituality.  We really want to follow Christ and be more like Him.  When we grow up spiritually we want to be just like Jesus.  Then as we start down that road our lives change, until maybe He goes in a direction we don’t want to go anymore.  Until our desires or our plans change for our life.  Then we just don’t follow Him as much.

    In this sermon we’re going to look at a few passages where people said they wanted to follow Christ and some of His responses to them were what we would call harsh.  But if someone really wants to be known as a follower of Christ, it takes much more than a vocal pledge.  Here are three of the situations we’ll look at when it comes to our decision to follow Christ:

    1.     Sometimes God calls but the responsibilities of life keep us from acting

    2.     Sometimes we want to follow for what we think we’ll gain

    3.     Sometimes we profess our desire but we’re just not ready to commit yet

    Luke 9: 23-27

    Luke 9: 57-62

    John 8:12

    Audio Pathway_2012_09_16.mp3
    SunSundaySepSeptember9th2012 Renaissance: Going Deeper
    byJeremy Flanagan Tagged Acts 0 comments Add comment

    In communication, when we come into contact with a new person that we want to have a relationship with we often spend a lot of time with them in what one of my college teachers called a “Period of Discovery”.  You unleash a barrage of stories at each other giving a picture of who you both are, but the stories we usually tell at this point are only the ones that make us look funny, smart, or charming.  Your intent with that individual is to share as much as possible that has the effect of making them say “I want to talk to them again”.  But the limit is drawn at the point where their knowledge of your life makes you feel vulnerable or defensive.  It seems like we’re sharing almost everything but down deep you realize that you’re holding back the most personal parts of yourself.

    When we look at going deeper in our relationship with God, we can get to know Him very quickly.  The only question is whether or not you’re finding out who God is from His Word or just from what other people tell you about God.  Once you do discover who God is, we start unloading.  We are so excited to have this new relationship with the creator of this world that we start opening up but even with God, we get to a point that we hold things back.  And the funny thing is that we KNOW that God knows the things we’re holding back from Him.  We simply don’t want to tell God about our vulnerabilities because we don’t want to hear it come out of our mouths.

    Today we’re going to look at how God has designed us to first become vulnerable to Him and then how He desires all of us to become more vulnerable with each other.  If we truly want to have genuine relationships in this life, we must first start with opening up to God and then each other.

    Acts 2: 42-47

    Audio Pathway_2012_09_09.mp3
    SunSundaySepSeptember2nd2012 Renaissance: Turning Points

    So we’ve started looking at our lives within a church family from the standpoint of how a church should shape what they do and how they should be measured.  But what does that mean for us as an individual?  How do the choices we make affect God’s plan for His churches?  Today we’re going to see in the picture of Christ’s baptism how He has given us the chance to make decisions in our life, to have a turning point from where we are now to where we need to be.

    One of the biggest points you’ll hear in this sermon is how BAPTISM = IDENTIFICATION.  We are baptized in the name of Christ to identify ourselves with Him, but why was Christ baptized?  When Jesus said He was being baptized to “fulfill all righteousness”, what did He mean?  The Mosaic Law didn’t require baptism so it had nothing to do with their views of righteousness.  John’s baptism of repentance held no personal meaning for Christ as He had nothing to repent of.  But Jesus didn’t come for His own needs but to sacrifice Himself for our need of a salvation from the penalty of sin.  Jesus Christ was baptized to identify Himself with sinners – with US.  The love we feel from understanding Jesus did something simply to identify with each one of us should cause a turning point in our lives where we are willing to begin identifying with Him.

    Matthew 3: 1-2, 11

    Mark 10:38

    Matthew 3: 13-17

    2 Corinthians 5:17

    Audio Pathway_2012_09_02.mp3

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