After “Are You Heaven Bound?”

Last Sunday was a particularly important Sunday for our congregation.  In addition to our weekly pattern of godly worship, which is always important, it also contained our long-awaited special service.  We’d been working toward “Are You Heaven Bound?” all year, and we’d been promoting it heavily for six weeks.  Now, the day has come and gone.

Before we put it completely in the rearview mirror, though, I want to spend some time talking about it.  I think there’s much to celebrate about what happened last Sunday, but I also think that there are several things we ought to learn from what happened.  Let’s consider, then, the lessons that are available for us after “Are You Heaven Bound?” Continue reading

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To Our Knees

O God, You bring us to our knees,
For You are very great;
We marvel at the mysteries
You purpose and create.
The starry reaches of the night
Declare Your majesty and might;
They show You clearly to our sight
And bring us to our knees. Continue reading

Victory in Jesus

For our final lesson before the big special service this afternoon, I wanted to zoom out as far as I could and ask “Why?”  Why have we been putting so much effort into promoting this?  Why is it important to get as many people as possible here at 3?  For that matter, why should we be here?  To zoom out even further, why should we ourselves be Christians at all?

One of my favorite answers to these questions appears in 1 Corinthians 15:56-57.  Serving Jesus is worth it, and calling others to serve Him is worth it because through Jesus, we can have victory.  Indeed, victory over the greatest challenges of life is only possible through Jesus, which means that if we don’t live for Him, defeat is the only possible result.  Being in Christ transforms our lives, and it can transform the life of every human being on the planet.  Let’s consider this morning, then, how we can achieve victory in Jesus. Continue reading

Strengthening Our Worship Muscles

Song worship, as opposed to mere singing, is an effortful activity.  It is, alas, all too easy to sing on autopilot.  Worship, by contrast, requires concentration.  When we worship, we must both comprehend the content of the hymn and make that content our own as we express it to God and to one another.  This expression ought to involve us both intellectually and emotionally. Continue reading

Authority, Law, and Love

Much of the discussion over my authority posts of a few weeks back centered on the question, “Do I have to?”  Everybody agrees that the Bible says certain things.  All the disagreement emerged over the extent to which those commandments, examples, etc. are binding on us today.

Perhaps the problem is that we’re asking the wrong question.  “Do I have to?” implies coercion, the enforcement of a law on an unwilling subject, and for disciples of Christ, that’s a shoe that should never fit.  For Christians, the right question ought to be, “Should I want to?”  Continue reading

Getting the Roots Out

Back when my family and I still lived in Illinois, my children were responsible for weeding the flowerbed on the north side of the house.  When I first gave them the job, I showed them how to weed properly.  I emphasized that they couldn’t only rip the leaves off.  Instead, if they wanted to do the job right, they had to pull the root up too.  Not surprisingly, my children took the easy course rather than the necessary course.  They pulled all the leaves off the dandelions, thistles, etc., and in two weeks, they were rewarded with a fine new crop of weeds. Continue reading

Overcoming Fear

As we observed last week, one of the most common reasons that Christians give for not engaging in personal evangelism is fear.  They’re afraid that they might not know what to say, that somebody might get mad at them, or that the whole effort might go horribly wrong in some other way.  I can certainly identify with this.  Back before I became a preacher and had to learn to run studies whether I wanted to or not, I myself was afraid of personal work.

However, simply because this fear is common doesn’t make it something we can live with.  As Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 1, God hasn’t given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and self-control.  Our brethren in the first century were bold, even to the point of risking and sometimes sacrificing their own lives.  If we want to be like the early disciples, we have to be bold too.  Fear isn’t a problem, but being paralyzed by our fears certainly is!  Let’s consider this morning, then, what we can do to overcome fear. Continue reading