Sermon Recommendation: Never Alone

Days before the resurrection, Jesus told his disciples again that he would be leaving them. Surely this had to be a crushing blow to his dear friends. But he also promised that he would not leave them “as orphans.”

This message from Pastor Matthew Hoskinson of the First Baptist Church of Manhattan examines that passage (John 14) and dives into what Jesus meant as well as the promise of the Holy Spirit that He sent to his followers (including us today). I hope the truth in it ministers to you today.

Bible link: John 14 (ESV) 

Celebrating Reformation 500

Today is the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, recalling the day Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the Wittenberg Church door. Of course, other reformers came before him and many came after him. But this day in 1517 was certainly a watershed moment in history and the one we most remember.

In honor of that here is a series of messages I’ve been listening to on key theological tenets that the reformation recovered. These particular messages are from First Baptist Church of Manhattan, but there are many churches doing similar series to mark Reformation 500.

Soli Deo Gloria (only for God’s glory)

Sola Scriptura  (Scripture is our authority)

Solus Christus (Christ alone)

Sola Fide (Faith alone)

Sola Gratia (Grace alone)

When It Is Not Well

It’s been a tough couple of weeks. Well, honestly I’ve spent much of this year riding the roller coaster from discouragement, uncertainty, anger, and pain to hope, optimism and faith and back around again. The most recent instance has just been another circumstance which brought pain and worry.

A few days ago, I’d looked up Bible verses about worry and anxiety and was punched in the gut with Philippians 4:6 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” I am always thankful for God’s grace when a verse like that lays me out flat. While I pray often, I also fail regularly to “not be anxious.”

The following day, I really didn’t want my worries and fears to consume all my thoughts as they had been doing. As I brought all of that to the Lord in prayer that morning, many things ran through my head. My need to repent and confess of my sins of worry, and control and fear was a large part of it, and it was in that time of prayer I finally realized all those were symptoms of having placed my faith in myself regarding the situation rather than placing it in God. Again, ouch.

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Church of Wimps

I read Luke chapter 9 this morning where Jesus reacts to three people who claim they would “follow him” anywhere. A modern mindset would probably expect a reaction along the lines of “Great you have you, buddy!” Jesus instead lays each one of them bare and exposes where their true hearts lie — whether it is in comfort or loyalty to family or something else.

As I continued my morning routine I thought on this. It struck me that the first one in particular chafes against an American mind.  Continue reading

Pillars of Christian Character: Obedience

I’m continuing to listen to this Grace to You sermon series “The Pillars of Christian Character,” once a week, for ten weeks.

The second message is about obedience. That word sure can make our rebel hearts want to run away or start rationalizing behavior, can’t it? And yet, the Bible makes it clear that we are saved not to continue sinning, but to love the Lord and to obey him. Continue reading

There is a cost …

Matthew 16:24-27 “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” Continue reading