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Sunday, April 08, 2018

 

Today Pastor Dave began a new series, "Got Questions?" For the past several weeks members of the congregation have been submitting questions about theology, the Bible, the End Times, and many other topics. There were almost 40 respondents, and their questions generally fell into seven categories that will be covered in the weeks ahead.

Today's category: Heaven and Hell.

The questions for today:

  1. What is heaven like?
  2. What do we do for eternity?
  3. Is paradise between heaven and hell?
  4. What happens after the Rapture?

These are very important topics. To hear the answers Pastor Dave came up with, click here!

 

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Tuesday, April 03, 2018


The curtain in the Temple prevented the worshippers inside the Temple from entering the Holy of Holies, the symbolic location of God's presence on earth. It was a constant reminder that the people were separated from God.

"Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom." (Mark 15:37-38)

And now we know that the ultimate purpose of the curtain was not just to show separation, but to announce restoration!

"By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place." (Hebrews 10:20)

And by his Resurrection we know Jesus has conquered both sin and death.

The Resurrection is grounded in eternity. Therefore...

  • It can transform our past.
  • It can transform our present.
  • It can transform our future.

"He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross." (Col. 2:14)

The torn curtain carries a promise: God tells us that when we are reconnected to him, his power will be at work in our lives to prepare us for heaven - to make us perfect, to make us like Jesus.

Those who follow Christ will follow him into the grave, but will also follow him into new life on the other side of the grave.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

 

"Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 NLT)

In the story of Joseph we saw how God used the evil plans of other people to accomplish what he wanted to happen.

We saw Joseph's story resolve in the course of his lifetime, but that isn't always how God chooses to work. (Read John 16:33 again.)

There is no guarantee life will be smooth and easy! What we don't read of Joseph is that he also grew old, became ill, and died.

For a modern day example of a man who lived faithfully for God all of his days, we need look no further than the Rev. Billy Graham. It is estimated that he preached the good news about Jesus to roughly 2.2 billion people! And yet he also grew old, became ill, and died about two months ago at age 99.

The greatest blessing is to be released from this broken world. The greatest healing comes when we are released from these broken bodies.

We have to learn to see things through faith, and it usually takes a lifetime.

Right now we see a mixture of blessings and sufferings. But faith becomes strong as we learn to recognize God's hand in all that happens.

To download the audio of today's message, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

 

Joseph told his brothers, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good." (Gen. 50:20 NLT)

Joseph, 20 years after having been sold into slavery by his brothers, and having risen to prominence in Egypt, was able in hindsight to see that this was true.

God has a plan, and while it includes us, it is far bigger than any one of us...it is even bigger than all of us.

For those who are willing to trust him, God will turn evil things into good things. (Read Genesis 50:20 again, then Romans 8:28.)

Joseph's brothers did everything they could to stop his dreams from becoming reality. But God's plan cannot be defeated (Job 42:2).

We can trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and of Joseph, to be at work in our lives as we look to him, trusting him in times and situations that don't make sense to us.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

 

God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for his own glory. (EFCA Statement of Faith, Article 1)

Joseph was a critical part of this plan, though he probably didn't think things were going very well for about 12 years. As a matter of fact, from his standpoint, things couldn't have gone worse: sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused of rape, stuck in a prison for years, even after he had done a major favor for a man who had direct access to Pharoah.

But all the things that had been happening to Joseph, both good and bad, were preparations for what God was about to do.

And next thing he knew, one of Joseph's dreams had come true: the brothers who hated him and vowed they would never bow to him as his dream foretold, found themselves bowing to the second most powerful man in all of Egypt...their brother Joseph, who looked every bit the Egyptian he pretended to be in their presence.

Suddenly things started to look really bad for the brothers, and for their father, Jacob: "Joseph is gone! Simeon is gone! And now you want to take Benjamin, too. Everything is going against me!" (Genesis 42:36 NLT).

To be continued...

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

To download the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, March 04, 2018

 

It is said that "Hell has no fury like that of a woman scorned." And Joseph experienced that first-hand after resisting the advances of his master's wife.

But where was God when Joseph was being unfairly accused?

Many people struggle with questions like this, especially when things go very wrong even though they did everything right. Is God some sort of cosmic sadist who gets off on watching people suffer? Or maybe he's good and all that stuff, but is powerless to do anything to set things right.

Yes, God is good, and is working all things together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). And yes, he is powerful. He shows his power in how he brings blessings from things that seem evil.

In part 1 of this series Joseph was sold into slavery, and in part 2 he ended up in prison. God wanted him in Egypt, and wanted him in a position of power. And the hardships Joseph went through were necessary in order to bring that about.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

For a copy of the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

 

In the story of Joseph we gain insight into how God works in situations that we see as troubles, but God sees as triumphs in progress.

By the end of this portion of Joseph's story we see his brothers pull him out of the pit where they threw him...so they could sell him into slavery. Talk about a dysfunctional family!

Sometimes God leaves us in an uncomfortable place while other parts of his plan are being prepared.

In Joseph's case that was what needed to happen, and that was when it needed to happen, so Joseph could end up in Egypt and carry out an even larger part of God's plan than he could ever have dreamed. And Joseph was quite the dreamer, as we see in today's message.

Joseph's story does not end in the pit, and your story does not end where you are right now.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

To download the small group study notes, click here.

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

 

In his message today, former associate pastor Neil Harris draws some powerful lessons from the stories of Esther and Joseph:

1. Life is hard!

Both Esther and Joseph were taken from their homes and found themselves in foreign lands, subject to the whims of those in power. Their stories (and their lives) could have ended much differently if they had not applied the following concept to their situations:

2. Grow where you are.

Esther learned to navigate the system of hierarchy and protocol at the palace and made the best of it. She proved herself to be a person of exceptional grace and presence of mind, and the people who had been placed in charge of her took notice. They helped her learn what she needed to know in order to become a worthy candidate for the position of Queen.

The administrative skills possessed by Joseph led to one promotion after another. And even after being thrown into prison for resisting the advances of his former master's wife, he kept learning and applying himself at every step of the way. Eventually he too had proven himself to be so entirely competent and trustworthy that was chosen for a powerful position, second only to Pharoah.himself.

What's the common thread between these two stories? In a word, it is that they made the most of whatever came their way. Esther and Joseph made themselves ready for God to use them, in His time.

"Maturity is the result of a lot of time spent moving in the same direction." Even in the midst of the daily grind, the constant challenges of life, it is choosing every day to follow God that will lead to maturity.

To download the audio of today's sermon, click here.

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Sunday, January 07, 2018

 

At the start of every year many of us make a resolution of some sort: eat less, exercise more, start a daily Bible reading regimen, whatever. These are all attempts to make ourselves better people in one way or another.

It's also an acknowledgement of the human condition: we are all weak in some areas, broken in others.

The Bible describes the human condition quite accurately in both the Old and New Testaments:

Psalm 14:3: "All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
    there is no one who does good,
    not even one."

Ecclesiastes 7:20: "Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
    no one who does what is right and never sins."

Romans 3:22a-23: "There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

And the "answer" provided by every religion except Christianity is some variation of the same theme: "Be a better person and you'll find yourself in heaven."

But in Christianity God says, "The only way these creatures are going to get better is if I do it myself."

He knows we were born with a sinful nature, so he accepts us as we are: with all of our weaknesses and imperfections, our bad attitudes, our fears, and our insecurities.

Thankfully, he is also in the restoration business. He takes what is broken and makes it whole again. You see, he loves us as we are, but loves us too much to let us stay that way. He will make us like Christ (Romans 8:29).

For the audio of today's sermon, click here.

For a copy of the sermon notes, click here.

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Sunday, December 17, 2017

 

The Incarnation: God becoming flesh.

Jews and Muslims don't accept Christianity largely because to them, the idea that God would become man is blasphemy.

But this concept is the very center of God's plan, the pivot point where renewal begins in this fallen world.

Someone had to do something. Death, a common experience of all who walk the earth, is the result of a broken relationship with the Source of Life.

And since humans broke this relationship, a human had to fix it.

In the Incarnation, the Maker becomes what he has made. This is a difficult concept to comprehend, and through the years terms like "hypostatic union" and "kenosis" have been developed to represent the inconceivable: God with us, Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man.

Inconceivable for us, true: but God's thoughts are much different than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).

As a man, Jesus emptied himself ot the attributes of Deity (Philippians 2:6-7): he experienced emotions like grief and fear. He was tempted in every way we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:14-16). 

As a result, he understands temptations far better than we do. We usually give in well before we experience the full strength of a given temptation.

And as a man, he died. But then he did the impossible: he rose from the dead.

Jesus has pased through death and into life! And he promised that those who follow him will do the same. (See John 20:31.)

For the audio of today's sermon, click here.

For a copy of the sermon notes, click here.

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