Monday, December 22, 2008

New Year's Sermon Text for Sunday, January 4, 2009

Start your New Year off right -- Join us for worship and Bible study! On Sunday, January 4th, I will be sharing a special challenge from Revelation 2:1-7, "2009, A Time to Realign."

[1] “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: [2] “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; [3] and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. [4] Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. [5] Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. [6] But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. [7] “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sermon text for Sunday, December 21, 2008 The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Luke 2:8-14 (NKJV)

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “ Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sermon Text for Sunday, December 14, 2008 The Second Sunday of Advent

Luke 1:68-79
The Song of Zechariah (The Benedictus)

68 “ Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people,
69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David,
70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
Who have been since the world began,
71 That we should be saved from our enemies
And from the hand of all who hate us,
72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers
And to remember His holy covenant,
73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
74 To grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
76 “ And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited[a] us;
79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sermon Text for Sunday, December 7, 2008 The Second Sunday of Advent

Sunday, December 7th, I will begin a series of messages treating "The Songs of Christmas." This week we will look at Mary's Song in Luke 1:46-55. The Advent and Christmas season is a wonderful time to invite your family and friends to worship. Each week will be special as we exalt our Lord who has come, is come, and will come again!

The Song of Mary
46 And Mary said:

“ My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
54 He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, November 24, 2008

"But Where Are The Nine: A Thanksgiving Message"

This message was preached at Hebron Baptist Church on Sunday, November 23, 2008.

Luke 17:11-19
Many years ago, a boat was wrecked in a storm on Lake Michigan at Evanston, Illinois. Students from Northwestern University formed themselves into rescue teams. One student, Edward Spencer, saved 17 people from the sinking ship. Years later, R.A. Torrey was talking about this incident at a meeting in Los Angeles, and a man in the audience called out that Edward Spencer was present. Dr. Torrey invited Spencer to the platform. An old man with white hair slowly climbed the steps as the applause rang. Dr. Torrey asked him if anything in particular stood out in his memory. “Only this, he replied, “of the 17 people I saved, not one of them thanked me.”

Jesus experienced a similar feeling when He cleansed 10 helpless and hopeless lepers out of their distress, but only one returned to thank Him. And our Lord replied, “Were there not 10 cleansed? But where are the nine?” (v.17). If gratitude is rare these days it is because people have either forgotten where they have come from or they have never experienced God’s amazing grace.
Life Application: God’s grace at work in our hearts leads to expressions of gratitude.

Verse 11 sets the scene for this healing and giving of thanks. Luke reminds us that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem. This is the beginning of His last trip to Jerusalem. Earlier (9:51), Luke tells us that Jesus had “steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.” Jesus was driven by God to fulfill His purpose. But why go “through the midst of Samaria”? Although the most direct route, Samaria was typically avoided by the Jews. According to them, Samaria was a place of halfbreeds and outcasts. On top of all that, these men were lepers, the most despised of all outcasts! But Jesus was not like most of His fellow Jews. He purposely went “through the midst of Samaria.”

But this was no wrong turn or accident. Jesus knew no untouchables. Jesus did not see racial barriers or economic barriers or even religious barriers, Jesus only saw people – people made in the image of God, people broken by sin, people in need of healing, people in need of a relationship with God. Do we see people as Jesus did and does?

Jesus would leave the 99 sheep to seek after the one and on this day He found the “one” lost sheep that went astray. There were certainly many lost sheep in Samaria. Jesus had been here before (9:51-56). At that time, He got a cold reception. It was in Samaria that James and John saw this rejection and said to Jesus, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (v.54). Their GROW outreach program was evangelism by fire! Jesus replied, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them” (9:55-56).

Jesus didn’t give up on Samaria and neither should we give up on our Samarias. Just because we don’t see results from our efforts the first time, does not mean we should give up. Don’t stop praying for people. Don’t stop sharing Christ and encouraging them. This time around Jesus received a different welcome. The fields are now ready for harvesting. The lepers are Jesus’ welcoming committee. They are some of the lost sheep that James and John were ready to set fire to.

Luke tells us that these 10 men who met Jesus were lepers and they stood afar off (17:12). The Jews of course had no dealings with the Samaritans; yet in this group there was at least one Samaritan. Apparently a common tragedy such as leprosy had broken down the racial barriers that would have otherwise been erected. In the common misfortune of their leprosy they had forgotten that they were Jews and Samaritans and remembered only that they were men in need. How we need to see people in that way – not as acceptable or unacceptable, not as rich or poor, not as black or white, or people like us and people not like us, but just as people who share a common bond and need.

Leprosy was a terrible disease in that day. Because of their condition, these men would be outcasts and condemned to a life of isolation. They were cut off from their families, from others, and because of the Mosaic law restrictions, they were even cut off from God Himself (see Lev. 13:46). Lepers were required to announce their fate and to stand at a distance from others. They were the humiliated and the hopeless. They survived only on the pity of others and only God could change their fate.

Fortunately, for these men Jesus was in their midst. Jesus cleansing people from leprosy was a sign that the kingdom of God had arrived. You might remember when John the Baptist, jailed and discouraged, wanted to know if Jesus truly was the Messiah. He sent his disciples to Jesus to find out. Jesus said, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf here, the dead are raised, the poor have the Gospel preached to them” (Lk. 7:22). The only hope for these men was God and God in the flesh had come to them.

What do you do when all your avenues of help and hope are exhausted? What do you say to God? Do you know what these men did (17:13)? Unashamed, in desperation and without self-conscious thoughts of pride, “they lifted up their voices and said, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’” And the wonder of all this is that God saw them, heard their cry, and responded. They cried out and the biblical language expresses that they kept crying out. Their’s was a cry of persistence. It was Jesus Himself who said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7). Jesus taught us to pray with persistence – don’t give up!

What did the lepers ask for? Interestingly, it was not for healing but for mercy. Why mercy? Of all the people that experienced condemnation and judgement, they were used to being judged. What they wanted was some compassion, some pity, some mercy. This is what people are silently crying out for today – mercy, compassion. People are not looking for us to fix everything in their lives for that is beyond what we can do, but they are looking for people who will come alongside them and make them feel human. Do we make people feel welcomed, loved, human? Do we love the lepers of our world? The outcasts, the broken, the shamed? Jesus did and if we’re Jesus people, we will too!

The last place that you would expect Jesus to send them to, was where He told them to go (v.14). In the OT the priests were not only the ministers of religion, they were the ministers of health. Leviticus 14 prescribes their duties concerning the pronouncement of whether a person was clean or unclean. The lepers must have thought, “why go to the priests? We’ve been there before and we know what they are going to tell us. Why go and see them? They will just exclude me again. They will not show me any mercy?” Jesus was testing the sincerity of their faith. Jesus sent them to the priests for at least two reasons:
(1) He was validating God’s word. Jesus even said that He didn’t come to destroy the law but to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17-18).
(2) But even more importantly, He connected faith to obedience, hearing with doing.
The healing was a work of God but they had to act upon His word. Their faith would be exercised by obedience to Jesus’ words. Faith is acting on God’s word before you can see the end result. These men would be healed when by faith they did what Jesus said to do.

Jesus said “go” and they went. What happened? Notice the all-important phrase in verse 14: “as they went, they were cleansed.” Had they trusted in their human instinct, they would have never gone. “Go to the priests! Been there and done that. Not going anywhere near that place.” But had they not went, they would not have experienced God’s healing. The evidence of faith is only seen as we walk by faith in obedience. Are you struggling in an area of your life but you can’t seem to see what’s going on? Has God spoken plainly to you in your situation? If He hasn’t wait upon Him. If He has, are you acting upon God’s word to you?

These men immediately did what Jesus said and “as they went, they were cleansed.” It was in the act of obedience that they received their healing from God. They were cleansed (v.14, Aorist, passive, indicative). The word is a form of “katharizo,” to cleanse, make clean, to declare ritually acceptable. To cleanse a disease such as leprosy. When they came to the priests, for the first time they heard the priests pronounce “you are clean my son.” When by faith we trust in Jesus Christ, we hear God the Father say to us, “you are clean my child for I have cleansed you.”

We don’t know what happened to these men but as far as we can tell they returned to their previous lives and social positions. But we do know that one of the men “when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God” (17:15). Going to see the priests would have to wait for him. He had to give thanks where thanks were due.

The one man rejoiced and fell at the feet of Jesus. This cleansed and changed man recognized Jesus as God and unashamedly gave Him thanks! The twist in the story is that Luke tells us that the one who came back, the only one of all people was a Samaritan (17:16). The Jews should have flocked to Jesus and acknowledged Him as the Messiah, but instead it was often the unlikely ones who loved Him. People who the Jews despised – tax collectors, sinners, people with stained pasts, the broken, even Samaritans.

It is true that the most thankful people are the people who know they have something to be thankful for. It is the people who know that without God they would be nothing who are the most grateful. The most ungrateful people are those who think they are somebody. They do not see the depth of their sinfulness. They feel that they have little to be forgiven of, so they have little to be thankful for. But people who really get it, people who know how dark sin is, who have been lifted up by God’s grace, they are the ones who pour out gratitude to God as sweet worship.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, Jesus said (Matt. 5:3). Blessed because they know their very breath depends upon the living God who is the creator, savior, and sustainer. Blessed because they know that without Jesus, they would be helpless and hopeless. Blessed because they know God’s amazing grace.

Jesus asked the healed man a series of questions (17:18-19). They were questions that needed no response and they were questions designed to be overheard, overheard by us, “But where are the nine?”(v.17). Like so many questions, this is one that is not seeking information for Jesus knew where they were. But it was a question of conviction, “Where are you?” “Are you aware of your lostness without Me? Are you aware that it is I who have paid the price for your sins on the cross? Are you grateful to God for what He has done in Christ?”

All we can determine about the nine lepers is that they received what they wanted and now they had no further need of Jesus. No story in all the Gospels shows man’s ingratitude toward God’s blessings as this one does. We would like to identify with the “one” who came to Jesus. We always see ourselves in Scripture as the good guys, but the truth is we are often like the nine who never came back.

How often have we prayed with desperate intensity for some particular area and God comes through. When our crisis is alleviated, it’s back to normal again. How often has God saved people out of a bed of sickness and yet when the affliction is past, the disease is in remission, then God is forgotten. “But where are the nine?” Are we too often life-time members of the club of nine?

There is actually a great difference between the “one” who returned to Jesus and the other “nine.” Jesus said of the one who was a Samaritan, “Go your way. Your faith has made you well.” The word for well (pf. tense) used here is “sozo” and means to save or heal. Jesus was saying that this man’s faith was complete, it was biblical saving faith, he was healed forever. This salvation encounter involved belief (trust) and action.

The one leper that returned to give thanks to God demonstrated saving faith and Jesus acknowledged his faith by saying to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well” (v.19). No one else that day heard those words except the one cleansed leper who happened to be a Samaritan. James helps us to understand saving faith. Faith that saves is faith that includes an active response. Using Abraham as an illustration of saving faith, James tells us that he was justified (i.e., made right with God) because his “faith was working together with his works” (Jas. 2:22). Abraham acted on God’s word.

The one leper was made “whole.” Ten were “cleansed,” “katharizo,” but only one was “healed,” “sozo.” The word for cleansing is where we get our English word, “catharsis” from. Catharsis Defined: “The purifying of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions; the alleviation of fears, problems, and complexes by bringing them to consciousness or giving them expression.”

Catharsis makes you feel better but it is not salvation. For the nine lepers Jesus was a way for them to experience catharsis. They found someone who could help them unload their problems. But when their problem was solved, they no longer needed the doctor. Many people today are seeking catharsis, an alleviation of some problem. There’s nothing wrong with that but we need to know that ultimate healing comes through an experience of God’s amazing grace. We don’t want to just come to church feeling guilty and go away feeling a little bit less guilty. We want to go away whole, we want to be changed.

But where are the nine?” Jesus asks. The nine are still with us today. They have been delivered out of an affliction, but not from their sins. They have known God’s goodness, but they have not known God’s grace. They have witnessed God’s healing in their body but they have never experienced the healing of the soul. The nine were cleansed of leprosy in their body but their is a leprosy of the heart that they have not dealt with. If you are a member of the club of “nine,” why not join the family of the redeemed? Be the “one” who really gets it – who is doer of God’s healing word.

The Lord’s Supper that we observe today is a supper of salvation. It is a thanksgiving feast. It is an opportunity for us as healed lepers to come before God with thanksgiving and praise for making us whole. This is why the Lord’s Supper has no significance to a person who is not a Christian, but it means everything to the child of God who has been washed clean by the blood of Jesus. The Supper reminds us of the living Jesus who is hear, who is still cleansing the souls of all who will call upon Him. Do you need the Great Physician this morning? He is hear and He is near.

Pastor Joe

ADVENT: Preparing For His Coming

The church year begins with The Season of Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas. Advent means “coming.” In Advent, we focus on the coming of Christ into the world (past), in our hearts (present), and the “second coming” (future). Celebrating Advent is a meaningful way to prepare for the Christmas season. What could your family do to make the Christmas season meaningful?

❆ Be sure to attend worship each Sunday. There will be special elements of the Christmas season shared in each worship service to remind you of the significance of Christ coming to earth.

❆ Pick up an Advent Devotional, “Come to the Manger,” available in the glassed foyer area. Set some time aside each day during Advent to be spiritually fed, inspired, and encouraged. While you’re picking up a devotional booklet, don’t forget to pick up a copy of “Advent, Christmas, Epiphany: What’s All This About?” This will help you to better understand the symbols and colors of Advent.

❆ Create a family Christmas tradition. Attend a Christmas play, special music presentation, town tree lighting, etc. Join us as we go Christmas Caroling on the 21st. Our own worship ministries at Hebron will be presenting “Christmas Fantasia” on December 7th at 6:00 p.m. Bring the entire family for this special Christmas musical event.

❆ Be a blessing to others by giving a special gift or by doing something special for someone who is not expecting it. The best way that we can celebrate the Christmas season is by sharing with others the greatest gift of all – Jesus!
You definitely don’t want to miss out on the wonder of the Christmas season. How will you celebrate this Christmas season?

In awe of God becoming flesh and dwelling among us!

Pastor Joe

Advent Week #1: Sermon Text for November 30, 2008

Mark 13:24-37

The Coming of the Son of Man

[24] “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; [25] the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. [26] Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. [27] And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.

The Parable of the Fig Tree

[28] “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. [29] So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors! [30] Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. [31] Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

No One Knows the Day or Hour

[32] “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. [33] Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. [34] It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. [35] Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— [36] lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. [37] And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sermon Text for Sunday, November 23, 2008

This Sunday I will be dealing with the theme of thanksgiving. Are you a grateful person? If gratitude is rare these days it is because people have either forgotten where they have come from, or because they have never experienced God's grace in salvation. In the story of the ten lepers who were cleansed, only one returned to give thanks to God. What about the nine? I want to be counted among the "one" who had a real experience of God's amazing grace. Join us for worship this Sunday as we give thanks to the Lord our creator and redeemer. "It is good to give thanks to the Lord" (Psalm 92:1).

Ten Lepers Cleansed
Luke 17:11-19

[11] Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. [12] Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. [13] And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” [14] So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.
[15] And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, [16] and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. [17] So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? [18] Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” [19] And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

Have a blessed week. See you Sunday.

For His Glory!

Pastor Joe

Monday, October 27, 2008

Election Day Sermon

Did you know that beginning as early as 1633, for over 250 years in America the Election Day Sermon was common practice? These sermons were most often preached the morning of a particularly important election.

Tim Ewing writes that although each Election Day Sermon was unique, they all shared common aspects. These sermons always addressed from a biblical perspective one or more of the following five points:

1. The foundation required for social order.

2. The purpose and legitimate functions of civil government.

3. The duties that civil authorities owe to the people they serve.

4. The duties that citizens owe to civil leaders/institutions.

5. the qualifications for candidates being considered for public office.

This Sunday, November 2, 2008, I will be preaching an Election Day Sermon. No, I won't tell you who to vote for. I wouldn't do that even if the IRS said I could. I respect soul freedom to much to do that. However, I will be sharing some biblical principles that I believe are essential for voting as an informed Christian citizen. What kind of qualities should we expect in our leaders? Does the Bible address the kinds of issues that matter to God? Come discover this Sunday what God's Word has to say on these matters. And of course, don't forget to exercise the privilege that you have as a citizen to vote.

For His Glory!

Pastor Joe

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Special Message: What To Do With Your Worry

This Sunday, October 19th at the 10:30 a.m. service only, I will be sharing a message on "What To Do With Your Worry." It's been kind of scary lately with everything that has been happening in the financial markets and the economy in general. We are living in anxious times, but the Lord has a word of encouragement for us. Use this opportunity to invite someone to worship with you this week. The message will be very practical as to what we can do with our worry and will focus on Christ as our refuge in uncertain times. See you Sunday.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sermon Text for Sunday, October 19, 2008

Malachi 3:6-12 (New King James Version)

[6] “ For I am the LORD, I do not change;
Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.

[7] Yet from the days of your fathers
You have gone away from My ordinances
And have not kept them.
Return to Me, and I will return to you,”
Says the LORD of hosts.
“ But you said,
‘ In what way shall we return?’

[8] “ Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘ In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.

[9] You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.

[10] Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the LORD of hosts,
“ If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

[11] “ And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,
So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground,
Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,”
Says the LORD of hosts;

[12] And all nations will call you blessed,
For you will be a delightful land,”
Says the LORD of hosts.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sermon Text for Sunday, October 12, 2008

Malachi 2:10-16

[10] Have we not all one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another? [11] Judah has broken faith. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the LORD loves, by marrying the daughter of a foreign god. [12] As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the LORD cut him off from the tents of Jacob—even though he brings offerings to the LORD Almighty.

[13] Another thing you do: You flood the LORD's altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. [14] You ask, "Why?" It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.

[15] Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.

[16] "I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel, "and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment," says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sermon Text for Sunday, October 5, 2008

John 21:1-6

[1] After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and in this way He showed Himself: [2] Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. [3] Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately[a] got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. [4] But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. [5] Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”
They answered Him, “No.” [6] And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Lengthy Response to "Happiness Is the Residue of a Holy Life"

September 22, 2008

The following is my response to the above article by Patrick Morley which recently generated quite a bit of email discussion among some of the men of the church.

Link to the Article:

First, let me say that I enjoy reading all of the comments that have been arriving to me as emails. Very spiritually stimulating dialogue. Thanks Brett Crow for getting these conversations started. Second, all of you (and you know who you are) who are not leading a study group should be! Seriously, this is the kind of well-thought-out dialogue that should characterize Hebron’s Sunday School and Bible Studies. Third, I am “weighing in” late on the topic as the church did not have internet for most of last week and I have been unable to access my account. Anyway, having said all that, let me throw my two or three cents in.

I enjoyed the article, “Happiness Is the Residue of a Holy Life” and felt that Patrick Morley was right on target. True holiness, which is living a God-centered and directed life, does produce true happiness or “blessedness.” This makes perfect sense. When you pursue God with all of your heart, soul, and strength, you discover the kind of true happiness that is described in the Beatitudes (God’s radical attitudes for life). Of course, the issue seems to be, “Is it appropriate for the church to offer people the way of happiness?” “Is this somehow selling out or commercializing the Gospel?” “Can we preach the Beatitudes to people in the hopes that they will discover God’s way of happiness?” My answer is a resounding “Yes!”

In understanding a text, it is imperative to know at least two things: (1) What kind of literature you are dealing with and, (2) What was the author’s original intention (purpose). Keep in mind that the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are by there very nature considered evangelistic literature. In other words, they present in the purest form the basic materials for Gospel preaching; that of calling people to faith in Christ. This makes the Beatitudes fair game for evangelistic preaching. In my preaching from the Beatitudes, my underlying approach has always been to make clear to people, “This is what God says true happiness is; therefore, if you will radically reorient your life towards God (become God-centered through repentance), you will discover that God’s blessedness is far different from the worlds, but also far more satisfying.”

I agree with Brett’s statement that it is God-honoring to preach a message on a topic (e.g., “True Happiness” [my phrase]) as a starting point with the intention of showing people that this is a result of a God-glorifying relationship. Let me digress for a moment and veer off into the field of preaching. Homiletics (the art of preaching) has to do with the way a preacher develops a sermon – its content, structure, and style. Because preaching is art (but not fine art), there will be many variations in how a biblical text is presented, all of which can be faithful biblical sermons. For instance, some preachers chose to begin with a topic which is supported with various biblical texts (e.g., Rick Warren’s approach), while other preachers chose to begin with a text which is developed as a unified message (e.g., John MacArthur’s approach). Topical sermons (once the mainstay of preaching, especially in Baptist churches), generally speaking, are not held in high regard by many people today. This may be a poor generalization, but people that listen typically to a John MacArthur or John Piper are not big Rick Warren fans. Nevertheless, both styles of preaching are evident in Baptist churches (and others as well) every week and can be God-honoring, biblical, expository in nature (i.e., explaining and applying the text) and effective in calling people to salvation in Christ.

In case you’re wondering, probably 90% of my sermons begin with one unit of text and are expository in nature. Last week’s sermon, “If I Were Satan,” was an exception to my general practice. Although I will preach topical sermons on occasion, I generally prefer to preach a biblical unit of thought (usually a paragraph in length) and I often preach successively through Books of the Bible. (Commercial) This week I will begin an expository series of sermons from the Book of Malachi.

What does all of this have to do with our discussion of “Happiness”? It is biblical to promote God’s way of life (His Word on happiness) in a topical fashion that appeals to people outside of the faith in the hopes that individuals will be open to God’s Spirit at work in their lives. Of course, we do have an obligation to preach the truth with integrity and not just tell people what they want to hear. I admit that some preaching today sounds like man-centered pop psychology, “Ten Easy Steps to Being Happy” (minus God). However, just because some preachers (and churches) are preaching happiness (and other “felt-need” topics) from a man-centered view doesn’t mean we should not apply the proper corrective by preaching what God really says on these subjects.

In conclusion (a favorite expression of preachers), let me say that I think holy people are happy people. They are happy because the Beatitudes are fleshed-out in their thinking and lives. The godly man does live a “blessed” (“makarios,” exuberantly happy) life. Some Christians have adopted a suspicious attitude toward happiness as if being happy is somehow less than holy or God-honoring. I praise God that He has made me righteous (holy) through Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). Because Christ has set me free by His amazing grace (Eph. 2:8-10; Jn. 8:31-32), I am living a “blessed” (happy) life. Does God want people to be happy or holy? Based on Scripture, I would have to say God desires that people be both holy and happy. It’s not an either or situation that we are confronted with as one of the first paragraphs in the article points out: “But why do they [i.e., holiness and happiness] have to be mutually exclusive? . . . I think a better solution is to describe the correct relationship between happiness and holiness.” So I ask, “Why does the church have to present holiness and happiness as mutually exclusive?” The answer to the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is helpful at this point. To the question, “What is the chief end of man?,” the catechism states the following: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” There it is – holiness (“glorify him”) and happiness (“enjoy him”) residing together in wonderful harmony. The better path is to preach and teach both holiness and happiness. Faithfulness to the biblical text demands that we do no less.

“Happy in Jesus!”
Pastor Joe


Pastor's New Sermon Series Begins September 28th

What happens when the flames of faith burn low, sputter, and seem to be on the verge of being blown out by the winds of contempt and cynicism? God raises up a spokesman to call His people back to renewed faithfulness to Him. Malachi was such a spokesman for his time, and our time. Malachi – “God’s messenger” – ministered in perhaps the most difficult period of the nation’s history: a time of waiting for God’s promises to be fulfilled. Many people doubted that God cared or would act on their behalf. Malachi showed his people that what was needed was to rekindle the fires of faith that almost had gone out. Among the areas that Malachi addressed were worship, divorce, the day of the Lord, ethical living, stewardship, and God’s righteous remnant.

Malachi is a timely book for today. Beginning this Sunday, September 28th, I will be sharing a series of messages from the book of Malachi. “Rekindling the Fires of Faith” is designed to help us as a church focus on four important areas of faith.
September 28Rekindling Your Worship
Malachi 1:6-14

October 5 “Gone Fishing!”
Sharing the Gospel Emphasis

October 12Rekindling Your Marriage
Malachi 2:10-16

October 19Rekindling Your Stewardship
Malachi 3:6-12

October 26Rekindling Your Hope
Malachi 3:13-4:3

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Sermon Text for Sunday, September 28, 2008


Sunday, September 28th begins a new series of messages from the book of Malachi.

Topic: "Rekindling Your Worship"

Text: Malachi 1:6-14

6 “ A son honors his father,
And a servant his master.
If then I am the Father,
Where is My honor?
And if I am a Master,
Where is My reverence?
Says the LORD of hosts
To you priests who despise My name.
Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’

7 “ You offer defiled food on My altar,
But say,‘ In what way have we defiled You?’
By saying, ‘ The table of the LORD is contemptible.’

8 And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice,
Is it not evil?
And when you offer the lame and sick,
Is it not evil?
Offer it then to your governor!
Would he be pleased with you?
Would he accept you favorably?”
Says the LORD of hosts.

9 “ But now entreat God’s favor,
That He may be gracious to us.
Whilethis is being done by your hands,
Will He accept you favorably?”
Says the LORD of hosts.

10 “ Who is there even among you who would shut the doors,
So that you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain?
I have no pleasure in you,”
Says the LORD of hosts,
“ Nor will I accept an offering from your hands.

11 For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down,
My name shall be great among the Gentiles;
In every place incense shall be offered to My name,
And a pure offering;
For My name shall be great among the nations,”
Says the LORD of hosts.

12 “ But you profane it,
In that you say,
‘ The table of the LORD[a] is defiled;
And its fruit, its food, is contemptible.’

13 You also say,
‘ Oh, what a weariness!’
And you sneer at it,”
Says the LORD of hosts.
“ And you bring the stolen, the lame, and the sick;
Thus you bring an offering!
Should I accept this from your hand?”
Says the LORD.

14 “ But cursed be the deceiver
Who has in his flock a male,
And takes a vow,
But sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished—
For I am a great King,”
Says the LORD of hosts,
“ And My name is to be feared among the nations.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Wednesday, September 10, 2008



With Gustaf hitting our area pretty hard, it has certainly been an eventful week. While many people are having their power restored, others in our area may still be waiting for some time. It’s safe to say that it will be awhile before all of us get back to normal. Let’s pray real hard that “Ike” fizzles out in the Gulf somewhere. Although we did not have electricity at the church this past Sunday, we did manage to have “Power!” during our one joint worship service held at 9:00 a.m. What a wonderful sweet spirit we experienced as we praised God, prayed, and shared testimonies of God’s goodness and His faithfulness. We attempted to get the word out concerning our revised schedule; however, many of our folks did not get the word. As you know, communication was almost non-existent at times this past week. Nevertheless, I still feel bad for the fact that not everyone got word. I apologize if you were one of the people who showed up for our regular service times. In the event of future disasters that occur, we will have a standing rule that we will meet for one worship service at 9:00 a.m. as we did last Sunday. Provided “Ike” doesn’t come our way, this week we will have our regularly scheduled services and activities.

Gustaf has reminded all of us of some important lessons, one being the importance of loving your neighbor. Paul said that “love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom. 13:10). This past week, my family has experienced your love first hand in very practical ways. You called, visited, helped put tarp up in the rain, brought food and supplies (e.g., generator, gas, fans, etc.), washed clothes, and encouraged us in a dozen other ways. You made this entire experience bearable for us and I am truly grateful for your concern.

Another lesson that I have been reminded of is that all of the earthly stuff that we think is important, is really not. What’s really important is loving the Lord and serving others. What’s important is your family and your friends. When we love and serve the Lord through our families and neighbors, we are laying up treasure in heaven where moth nor rust nor hurricanes can destroy (Matt. 6:20). When we have the right perspective on our earthly stuff, we also will not worry nearly as much. Because we belong to the Lord, He is going to meet our needs and take care of us. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).

Another lesson that I have been reminded of is that we are to praise God even in the storms of life. When Satan came before the Lord he challenged Job’s resolve to praise God when things were not going well. He accused Job before the Lord by saying, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” (Job 1:9). But notice how Job responded to the multiple disasters that he endured. “Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.’” (Job 1:20-21). No mater what the circumstance, Job determined that he was going to bless the Lord.

We are to bless God in the good and in the bad. Why? Because He will be faithful. So let’s keep praising Him in every circumstance. Let’s keep loving Him by loving our neighbors. Let’s keep sharing the hope that we have in Jesus Christ to a world that so desperately needs Him.

Praising God in the storms!

Pastor Joe
Phil. 1:3

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sermon Texts for Sunday, August 31, 2008

This Sunday we will be observing the ordinance of the Lord's Supper. Following are the sermon texts for August 31, 2008:

Matthew 16:21-28

[21] From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. [22] Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” [23] But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” [24] Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. [25] For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. [26] For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? [27] For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. [28] Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Romans 12:9-21

[9] Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. [10] Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; [11] not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; [12] rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; [13] distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. [14] Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. [15] Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. [16] Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. [17] Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. [18] If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. [19] Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. [20] Therefore “ If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” [21] Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Friday, August 22, 2008

Baptist Catechisms

Baptist Catechisms

Catechisms have been used for centuries by Christians to instruct believers in the basics of the Christian faith. Catechisms are most often used to instruct new converts and as a guide for parents to instruct their children in the Christian faith. Many catechisms are available, most adapted from the Westminster Catechism.

John Piper writes concerning the the history of this catechism.
"This is a slightly revised version of 'The Baptist Catechism' first put forth by Baptists in 1689 in Great Britain. It was adopted by the Philadelphia Baptist Association in 1742. It is patterned on the well-known reformed Westminster Catechism. The few comments in the earlier questions are meant to help parents make things plain to their children.

Check out Piper's excellent catechism and guide for making the catechism a part of your family life at

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thoughts on Christian Unity


This past Sunday, I preached from Psalm 133 on the necessity of preserving the unity of the body of Christ. As we begin to implement the Steering and Capital Fund Committee recommendation, unity will be all the more crucial!

What is the basis for unity at HBC? The basis of unity is our Christian faith. As Paul said in Ephesians 4:5, there is “one faith.” We find common ground (unity) around the core teachings of the Christian faith. Among the core teachings of the “faith,” are that we believe in one God who reveals Himself as Father, Son, and Spirit. He is the creator. The world that we live in is fallen and in need of redemption. Jesus lived, died, and rose again to provide this redemption. The Holy Spirit empowers us to be on mission sharing the Gospel of Christ. God will complete this work of salvation when He returns in glory. The Bible records this wonderful story and we seek to live our lives under its authority. These are the essentials of the faith. This is what makes us distinctively Christian. This is what unifies us.

We also find unity around the particular way that we exercise or practice our Christian faith, that’s where are Baptist heritage comes in. Baptists share everything I just mentioned in common with other Christians. However, Baptists have championed other biblical teachings as well. Biblical teachings such as that the church is made up of believers who have professed faith in Christ and followed Jesus in baptism by immersion. All believers are secure in their salvation and are priests before God. Baptists believe in the autonomy of the church and that every believer shares in the decision-making process (the vote last Sunday reflects that conviction). Baptists have stood for the separation of church and state, that there is no creed but the Bible, and have emphasized evangelism and missions as the priority of the church. So we find common ground in our faith and in our practice.

Sometimes problems arise in a church because people do not make distinctions between the essentials of the faith and what is non-essential. Christ as our redeemer is an essential, whether you are a democrat or republican is not. Others do not understand our practice as Baptist Christians. Because Baptists uphold the teaching of the priesthood of the believer, we value and rely on the participation of believers in the body to accomplish God’s work. This means that we encourage you to think, to pray, and to participate in the total life of the church.

Admittedly, this structure can be frustrating for people who like the security of a “top down” hierarchical model; that is, being told “this is what you should believe and do,” or for people who are used to the corporate business model or for people who become easily impatient. Congregationalism can be painfully slow, but it respects the biblical teaching of the Priesthood of the Believer, the Spirit of Christ, and it is the biblical model that we follow.

At this juncture in our history, let’s determine that we are going to continue to keep the main thing the main thing. Let’s move forward together in unity. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (v.1). “Lord, pour out Your Spirit upon us “like . . . precious oil . . . running down” so that all will see Your glory. Lord, let the “dew of Hermon” drench your people – refresh and revive us so that we can bring your life to a thirsty and parched world. Amen.”

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sermon Text for Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sermon Text for Sunday, August 24, 2008

Romans 12:1-8

[1] I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

[3] For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. [4] For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, [5] so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; [7] or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; [8] he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sermon Text for Sunday, August 17, 2008

This Sunday, August 17th we will be voting on the Steering and Capital Fund Committee recommendation that was presented on Sunday, August 10th. Be in prayer this week for the unity that our sermon text for the week speaks of.

Psalm 133

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!

2 It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.

3 It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the LORD commanded the blessing—
Life forevermore.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sermon Text for Sunday, August 10, 2008

IMPORTANT: This Sunday the Steering and Capital Fund Committees will bring a joint recommendation presentation during both morning services. Discussion of the proposal will take place Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. We will vote on the proposal Sunday, August 17th in the morning services.

Sermon Text for Sunday, August 10, 2008

Jesus Walks on the Sea

[22] Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. [23] And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. [24] But the boat was now in the middle of the sea,[a] tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. [25] Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. [26] And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. [27] But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” [28] And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” [29] So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. [30] But when he saw that the wind was boisterous,[b] he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” [31] And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” [32] And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
[33] Then those who were in the boat came and[c] worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sermon Texts for Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sermon Texts for Sunday, August 3, 2008:

Isaiah 55:1-5
[1] “Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
[2] Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
[3] Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.
[4] Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people,
A leader and commander for the people.
[5] Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,
And nations who do not know you shall run to you,
Because of the LORD your God,
And the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you.”

Matthew 14:13-21
[13] When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. [14] And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. [15] When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.” [16] But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” [17] And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” [18] He said, “Bring them here to Me.” [19] Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. [20] So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. [21] Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

For His Glory!

Pastor Joe

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sermon Text for Sunday, July 20, 2008

Genesis 28:10-19a

Jacob’s Vow at Bethel

10 Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. 12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
13 And behold, the LORD stood above it and said: “I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” 18 Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel;[a] but the name of that city had been Luz previously.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

SBC Resolution on Church Membership

One resolution recently passed at the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis which caused a firestorm of words both positive and negative. The final resolution as passed is printed below. What are your thoughts on this resolution? Do you agree with the resolution? If not, what do you not agree with? How might churches go about fulfilling the intention of the resolution? Are there inherent dangers in carrying out this resolution on a local church level? What climate is present in the church today that prepared the soil of the SBC to approve this resolution? Resolutions similar to this one in the past have been soundly defeated. However, this one was overwhelmingly approved. Do you feel that this resolution accurately reflects the state of many Christians and churches? I would love to hear your thoughts on these issues.

June 2008

WHEREAS, The ideal of a regenerate church membership has long been and remains a cherished Baptist principle, with Article VI of the Baptist Faith and Message describing the church as a “local congregation of baptized believers”; and

WHEREAS, A New Testament church is composed only of those who have been born again by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Word, becoming disciples of Jesus Christ, the local church’s only Lord, by grace through faith (John 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9), which church practices believers’ only baptism by immersion (Matthew 28:16-20), and the Lord’s supper (Matthew 26:26-30); and

WHEREAS, Local associations, state conventions, and the Southern Baptist Convention compile statistics reported by the churches to make decisions for the future; and

WHEREAS, The 2007 Southern Baptist Convention annual Church Profiles indicate that there are 16,266,920 members in Southern Baptist churches; and

WHEREAS, Those same profiles indicate that only 6,148,868 of those members attend a primary worship service of their church in a typical week; and

WHEREAS, The Scriptures admonish us to exercise church discipline as we seek to restore any professed brother or sister in Christ who has strayed from the truth and is in sin (Matthew 18:15-35; Galatians 6:1); and now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 10-11, 2008, urge churches to maintain a regenerate membership by acknowledging the necessity of spiritual regeneration and Christ’s lordship for all members; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we humbly urge our churches to maintain accurate membership rolls for the purpose of fostering ministry and accountability among all members of the congregation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention to repent of the failure among us to live up to our professed commitment to regenerate church membership and any failure to obey Jesus Christ in the practice of lovingly correcting wayward church members (Matthew 18:15-18); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we humbly encourage denominational servants to support and encourage churches that seek to recover and implement our Savior’s teachings on church discipline, even if such efforts result in the reduction in the number of members that are reported in those churches, and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we humbly urge the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention and their pastors to implement a plan to minister to, counsel, and restore wayward church members based upon the commands and principles given in Scripture (Matthew 18:15-35; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15; Galatians 6:1; James 5:19-20).

Indianapolis, IN

Sermon Text for Sunday, July 13, 2008

Following is the sermon text for Sunday, July 13, 2008:

[19] This is the genealogy of Isaac, Abraham’s son. Abraham begot Isaac. [20] Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah as wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian. [21] Now Isaac pleaded with the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. [22] But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If all is well, why am I like this?|” So she went to inquire of the LORD.
[23] And the LORD said to her:

“Two nations are in your womb,
Two peoples shall be separated from your body;
One people shall be stronger than the other,
And the older shall serve the younger.”

[24] So when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb. [25] And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau. [26] Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them. [27] So the boys grew. And Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a mild man, dwelling in tents. [28] And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. [29] Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. [30] And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom. [31] But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.” [32] And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?” [33] Then Jacob said, “Swear to me as of this day.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. [34] And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sermon Text for Sunday, June 22, 2008

Here's the sermon text for this Sunday's message:
Matthew 7:1-5
[1] Do not judge, or you too will be judged. [2] For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. [3] Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? [4] How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? [5] You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, June 9, 2008

Father's Day Sermon Text (6/15/08)

This Sunday, June 15 is Father's Day. Sunday morning I will be sharing a message based on the life of Stephen from the book of Acts. Stephen was a man who made a tremendous impact upon the lives of people in his time. Men today are able to make a difference when they exhibit the spiritual qualities of servanthood, courage, and compassion.

Sermon Text: Acts 6:8-12; 7:59-60

[8] Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. [9] Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, [10] but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke. [11] Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, "We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God." [12] So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin.

[59] While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." [60] Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"Make A Difference!" New Sermon Series

All the statistics of late point to the obvious -- the church's influence in society is in steep decline. This Sunday, June 1st I will begin a new series of messages that will help us address this decline of influence and some suggestions on how we can impact our community with the Good News of Christ.

What is the solution? How can we as Christians make a difference in our culture? Are there some things that we do as Christians that are counter-productive to influencing our culture positively for Christ? The solutions are not going to be easy. They will require some honest self-examination. However, if we will have an open heart and a willingness to be honest, God will reveal our true condition and renew us so that we can truly live as God intended -- living to make a difference in our world.

The sermons in this series of messages is as follows:
June 1 -- Make a Difference! By Living by the Spirit (Galatians 5:13-26)

June 8 -- Make a Differnce! By Imitating Christ's Humility (Philippians 2:1-11)

June 15 -- Make a Difference! By Being a Real Man (Acts 6:8-12; 7:59-60)

June 22 -- Make a Difference! By Seeing People As God Does (Matthew 7:1-5)

June 29 -- Make a Differnce! By Living As Christian Citizens (Matthew 5:13-16)

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Posted by Joe Alain at 9:52 AM
Post a Comment

Older Post Home
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"Christians Get on My Nerves"

Ed Stetzer, director of Lifeway Research and Lifeway’s missiologist in residence writes about the declining state of the church in the latest edition of Faith and Family Values (2008/Issue 2), a Southern Baptist Publication. Of interest are some of his statements on the diminishing influence that Christians are exerting on society. Stetzer laments that “Perhaps the most sobering statistic is that 44 percent of people agreed (somewhat or strongly) with the statement, ‘Christians get on my nerves.’” Apparently, in the eyes of many of our fellow citizens, the salt has lost its saltiness and is good for nothing (Matt. 5:13).

Stetzer may be on to something significant but you probably won’t here much on the subject. The greatest hindrance to church growth is not our church budgets (the lack of money) or buildings or even baptism statistics (the 3 B’s). We need to only look in the mirror to see that the problem is us – the church itself. Too many Christians simply do not speak and act like their namesake – Christian. Too many Christians are professors of Christ in name only, lacking the essential fruit of the Spirit and having bought the delusion that because they are American and nominally church going, they must be Christians. After all, “isn’t America a Christian nation!” Yet it is often the people that I just described who are guilty of spewing hatred toward others, resolving their problems with anger and intimidation, and living for the most part no differently than the supposedly unregenerate heathen.

Frankly, many Christians get on my nerves! Easily swayed by popular preaching (mostly fundamentalist rhetoric without any consistent biblical hermeneutic), dogmatic in their views (“Don’t confuse me with the facts. Ignorance is bliss”), and unloving toward people who do not fit into their Jesus box. I can see why so many people dislike Christians.

The church is not growing because Christians are too busy cursing the darkness instead of living in the light. We spend an inordinate amount of time, energy, and money trying to convert the CEO’s of the likes of McDonalds, Disney World, and others to our way of thinking, as if that is ever going to happen. And is that even what we are supposed to be doing? And when we’ve won them to our way of thinking, is it because they have been compelled by the love of Christ? Or do they capitulate because of fears of angry and prolonged boycotts (economic reasons)? Maybe it’s time to practice what Jesus said. Before you go on a toothpick pulling crusade, you better remove the telephone pole out of your own eye.

I know that this will be a startling revelation, but the solution for regaining our Christian influence in the world is not another Lifeway program or a more juiced-up pastors pep rally. The solution is to first, present a realistic view of what it means to follow Jesus. Being a Christian is more than just a nice cultural designation. Following Jesus means that we take His words seriously. We prayerfully seek to live out the teachings of Christ in word and in deed. Living as Jesus lived means we will live as resident aliens.

Second, the solution is for genuine Christians to repent from our lovelessness, our selfish agendas, our power struggles, our pride, and our judgmental spirit. Then put on the mind of Christ. It’s time to put away our witty Christian slogans and start living out the presence of Christ. We need to ask, “How would Christ live and minister?” For one thing, Jesus did not win people by lambasting the institutions of his day (even unjust ones), such as the Roman government. This is not to say that Jesus was not concerned with society or justice (just check out what God thinks in the Old Testament); nevertheless, His focus was on people making a radical decision to live as God’s citizens. The cost of following Jesus was high then and we must not cheapen living out the crucified life. When people take seriously this call to live as God’s citizens, society and institutions will invariably be changed. The leaven of the Gospel is too volatile to be contained. It will burst forth! Old wineskins cannot contain the new wine of the Gospel for long.

Other recent studies have shown that people generally have a favorable view of Jesus, they just don’t like the church. Why is this? Perhaps people like Jesus because He is so down-to-earth and more human than what the church has become. Jesus did not hesitate to rebuke religious phonies, yet strangely He did not chastise the hurting in need of reconciliation. A bruised reed He never broke. To often the modus operandi of the church today is just the opposite of the New Testament. Phariseeism among God’s people (decried by Jesus) is exalted, while sinners in need of God on the outside of the church are dismissed almost as non-persons. Meanwhile, the chorus of hurting humanity in our neighborhoods continually cries out, “does anybody care?” Have Christians turned the “good new” into bad news? Could this be why Christians get on the nerves of people? Could this be why so few people have a favorable view of the church? If so, God help us!

Jesus was not impressed with building his own kingdom, the seemingly driving force behind many churches today. On many occasions Jesus purposely avoided the limelight. If Jesus wanted to bring about the kingdom in a majestic and powerful way, then He sure went about it the wrong way. After all, who wins the kingdom by willingly surrendering one’s life! Jesus brought us the kingdom through His sacrificial death and resurrection. As believers, we too will make the most lasting influence when we live sacrificially before others. “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (Jn. 12:24). Not surprisingly, in the larger passage are Jesus’ words: “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (Jn. 12:32). The sacrificial love of God demonstrated on the cross draws people to want to know this God of mercy and grace who would give Himself for us.

There was one group of people that Jesus got on the nerves of – religious people who were trying to protect their interests at all costs. Jesus attracted people rather than irritating them because He spent most of His time loving and helping “the least of these.” Pride, power, privilege, claiming His rights, none of these things mattered to Jesus. As long as these remain the crowns that we covet, I suspect that the church will grow increasingly irrelevant. Translated – we will continue to get on people’s nerves. Some radical changes are in order if people are going to see in us what are name implies – Christ! However, I am hopeful that when Christians start speaking and acting as Jesus did, then Christians will once again bring healing and hope to a world still in need of some “good news.”

For His Glory!

Pastor Joe

Let The Church Be The Church!

Following are some excerpts from a message that I plan on preaching this Wednesday, May 21.

Book of Philemon Background: Philemon, an active Christian in the church at Colossae, had been won to faith in Christ through the efforts of Paul. Philemon’s house served as the meeting place for the local church. Onesimus, one of Philemon’s slaves, had previously wronged, perhaps robbed, his master and run away. He made his way to Rome where Paul was imprisoned. He came in contact with Paul who led him to faith in Christ. An occasion arose which allowed Onesimus to return to Collosae. Onesimus carried this letter written by Paul to Philemon and the church. The purpose of the letter was to seek forgiveness for the slave Onesimus and at the same time to insure that Onesimus would be received as a Christian brother by the whole church.

Early in the book of Philemon (vv.1-7) we see some of the outstanding qualities of the people that formed the church that met in Philemon’s home. Though not a large church, this church stands out as a wonderful example of what the church of Jesus Christ is all about. It is still true that when the church is the church, it will be a light, a refuge, and an instrument of healing in our broken world.

What should the Christian church look like that you are a member of?
1. The Church Is to Be a Place of Fellowship and Reconciliation
There was an intimacy to the church that met in Philemon’s home. Regardless of who you were, there was a sense of unity and fellowship in Jesus Christ. Masters and slaves, Jews and Greeks, men and women, all changed by the grace of God – they worshiped and served together. For the church to continue impacting our broken and hurting world, the church must be a welcoming congregation of believers full of grace and God’s Spirit. Likewise, every member must give of themselves in service to God so that His kingdom purpose of reconciliation can be accomplished.

Paul was confident that his appeal for reconciliation on behalf of Onesimus would not go unheeded. The entire letter of Philemon highlights the reconciling power of God in Christ. God can change individuals but he can also change the hearts of the people who have been wronged. Jesus Christ makes reconciliation a reality. Are there brothers and sisters in Christ in your community who need the reconciling grace of a fellow member of the body of Christ? By your gracious words and actions, you could be a powerful instrument of God’s reconciliation.

2. The Church Is to Reflect God’s Love
Philemon was known for his faith and love. His generosity and faith refreshed the saints! Would that it be said of us that spiritually we are like a cool refreshing glass of water to thirsty and weary people around us. Does our Christianity bring refreshment to those around us? Loving others through giving of ourselves and sharing our blessings with others is the default mode of the follower of Jesus. The only way that people will ever know that we are followers of Jesus is by our words and actions.

Do you see how powerful the church can be in our world, in your community? All that people really need and are looking for is what the church can offer. People are looking for a sense of belonging – we call that Christian fellowship. People are seeking reconciliation with God and in their relationships – we call that a personal relationship with Christ. People are seeking peace and strength in difficult and unstable times – we call that the refreshing encouragement that God gives us through His Holy Spirit that is experienced as we pray for one another and encourage one another.

What people need (and what you can help provide) is for the church to just be the church! Let’s be the church! Let’s not forsake our gathering together as God’s people. Let’s support the ministry and activities of the church that we belong to. Let’s encourage one another with our presence and with our actions. Let’s be reconcilers and saints who refresh one another. Let’s be the church! Then let’s watch what our mighty and gracious God does in His world for His glory!

Pastor Joe

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sermon Text for Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday's Sermon Text: Matthew 6:24-34

[24] "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. [25] "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? [26]Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? [27] Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? [28]"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. [29] Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. [30] If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? [31] So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' [32]For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. [33] But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. [34] Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sermon Text for Trinity Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sermon Text for Trinity Sunday, May 18, 2008

Genesis 1:1-3, 26; 2 Corinthians 13:11-14 (NIV)
[1] In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. [2] Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. [3] And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

[26] Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

[11]Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. [12] Greet one another with a holy kiss. [13] All the saints send their greetings. [14] May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Thoughts on "Tiptoe Through The TULIP . . ."

I came across an interesting article the other day on the Associated Baptist Press web site. The title of Ken Camp's article caught my eye. "Tiptoe through the TULIP: Must the new Baptist Calvinism divide churches, denominations?" This is a question that I have found myself asking lately. Having weathered the pastorate for the last twenty years, I've navigated many theological landmines along the way. From tongue speaking in the 80's, to the issue of innerancy in the 90's, and now to Calvinsim (just to name a few). When I began my ministry few of my fellow Baptist seminarians knew who John Calvin was. Even fewer people in the pews had ever heard of John Calvin or Calvinism. That's all changed. A recent study by The North American Mission Board and Lifeway Christian Resources reveals that about 30 percent of recent graduates of Southern Baptist Seminaries identify themselves as Calvinists.

In talking with a fellow Baptist evangelist the other day, his conviction was that Calvinism would be the next dividing point for Southern Baptists. I hope that he is wrong! Calvinists and non-Calvinists (not necesarily Arminians) share much more in common then they disagree on. Most Baptists believe in total depravity, that man is unable to save himself, that God must quicken His dead spirit. Likewise, I don't know of a Baptist that does not have a high view of the Bible and the sovereignty of God. Perseverance of the saints has been a hallmark of Baptist faith from our founding. Baptists that I know believe that salvation is a work of God's amazing grace.

This is not to say that there are not some serious differences between Calvinists and Non-Calvinists. This is especially true when it comes to one's understanding of the doctrines of election and the atonement. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that sincere Christians can differ with one another in a spirit of grace. After all, the Priesthood of the Believer (a forgotten Baptist distinctive) demands that we search Scripture out with an open heart, interpreting all Scripture in light of Christ. When that kind of interpretation is practiced, our knowledge of God is not only deepened but we are moved to treat one another with respect and grace.

Check out Ken Camp's article at

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Pentecost Sunday and Mother's Day Sermon Text

Sermon Text for Pentecost Sunday and Mother's Day:

Acts 2:1-6, 14-21

The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
[1] When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. [2] Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. [3] They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. [4] All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. [5] Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. [6] When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.

Peter Addresses the Crowd
[14] Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. [15] These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! [16] No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

[17] " 'In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
[18] Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
[19] I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
[20] The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
[21] And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.

For His Glory!

Pastor Joe

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sermon Text for Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday's Sermon Text:
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
[15]"If you love me, you will obey what I command. [16] And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— [17] the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[a] in you. [18]I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. [19] Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. [20] On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. [21] Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Monday, April 7, 2008

Sermon Text for Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday, April 13 is Gideon's Sunday. A guest preacher from the Gideon's organization will be sharing with us in both morning services. Come here how the Gideons are impacting the world by getting out copies of the life-changing Word of God. As a supporter of the Gideons, you have the opportunity to help spread God's Word in our community and literally around the world.

Sermon Text for Sunday, April 20, 2008, the Fifth Sunday of Easter:

The Way, the Truth, and the Life

[1] “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. [2] In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. [3] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. [4] And where I go you know, and the way you know.” [5] Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” [6] Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

The Father Revealed

[7] “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” [8] Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” [9] Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? [10] Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. [11] Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

The Answered Prayer

[12] “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. [13] And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. [14] If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

For His Glory!

Pastor Joe

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sermon Text for Sunday, April 6, 2008

Following is the sermon text for the third Sunday of Easter, April 6, 2008:

[13] Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. [14] And they talked together of all these things which had happened. [15] So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. [16] But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. [17] And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”
[18] Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” [19] And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, [20] and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. [21] But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. [22] Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. [23] When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. [24] And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.” [25] Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! [26] Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” [27] And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

[28] Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. [29] But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them. [30] Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. [31] Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sermon Text for Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008

Sermon Text for Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008

Matthew 28:1-8, 18-20 (NKJV)
[1] Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. [2] And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. [3] His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. [4] And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. [5] But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. [6] He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. [7] And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” [8] So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.

[18] And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. [19] Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20] teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

For His Glory!
Pastor Joe