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Thursday, April 19, 2018

 

In part 2 of the series "Got Questions?", Pastor Dave addresses an issue that is critical to understanding and accepting the Christian faith: How do we know the Bible is reliable?

What can you say to someone who believes in God, but doesn't necessarily believe the Bible since it was written by men, and therefore doesn't believe that Jesus is the only way?

The first thing to do is find out what exactly they believe -- what they think God is like, and why. Because "having faith" doesn't matter. It's the object of faith that matters.

Faith is not just believing Jesus lived, died, and rose; it's trusting him in our daily lives, following him, and allowing our faith in him to shape who we are.

The second thing to do is ask them, "How would you expect God to communicate?"

It seems reasonable to expect him to want to communicate and be understood, just like we do. And being God, you would expect him to be able to do so clearly, powerfully, truthfully, and in a way that indicates a perspective that is higher than our own.

The Bible matches all of those criteria, and far surpasses any other historical or religious document in terms of faithfulness to the original text.

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

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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, February 11, 2018

 

Oh, how the tables have turned! Those who intended to harm God's people found themselves in harm's way instead.

The book of Esther doesn't mention God or prayer, yet as this story reaches its climax it is clear that the sovereign Lord has been at work behind the scenes. And to this day the festival of Purim is celebrated to commemorate the deliverance of the Jews from the hands of those who would destroy them. It is certainly a theme that has played out many times in world history!

But while Esther, Mordecai, and all the Jews in the Persian Empire were in the midst of the story, it sure looked like things were spinning out of control.

Can you relate?

We think life should go a certain way, we think we know what we want to happen, and so often we seem to be on the brink of disaster in some area of our lives.

But God works according to his plan, his timeline, not ours.

Two lessons we take away from today's conclusion of the book of Esther:

1. Spiritual growth is seldom instantaneous. Esther was queen for 5 years before it became evident that God had placed her in just the right spot "for such a time as this." (Esther 4:14)

2. The wicked sometimes seem to have the upper hand. But God will deal with them (Prov. 11:21).

There are even larger themes examined during today's message: the nature of justice, hell, and the ulitmate sacrifice that enables us to belong in God's kingdom.

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

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