Two new sermons: Becoming Fearless / Invincible Light

Hi everyone!

Pastor Kent is gone this month, so I had the opportunity to share the word of God twice with our congregation. i_am_with_you_by_blugi-d5rl70j

The first is a sermon that I called “Becoming Fearless.” God speaks in Isaiah 41:10 to “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

It’s as we understand the promise of God’s presence to be with us that we can walk through life fearlessly. Listen to it here:

http://jcboston.org/fearless/

 

The second sermon is from one of my favorite passages, John 1: 1-18. John begins telling about Jesus by describing God thrusting light into darkness at the beginning of creation. The bible is the story of light overcoming darkness, and each of us are challenged to carry the light of Christ into our everyday lives as torchbearers. What an amazing promise, that the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it! Listen to it here:

http://jcboston.org/invincible-light/

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Grand Canyon Sunrise, June 2015

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Sermons galore!

Journey Church is in the middle of our “Glorious Perspective” series, where we are teaching each week from the Beatitudes, the beginning of Jesus’ famous speech “The Sermon on the Mount.”

It has been so awesome to dig deep into these scriptures and see how the beatitudes build on one another.

I’ve had the privilege of teaching two of them –

 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled”

Here I challenge us to consider what is filling our lives, and shares that righteousness, a desire to be like Christ, is the only thing that will truly satisfy the deep longings of our souls.

Click here to listen to “The Only Thing That Satisfies”

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they are sons and daughters of God.”

In this sermon, I share how we can bring God’s shalomic peace into the brokenness of our world by initiating, sacrificing and enduring in the likeness of Christ.

Click here to listen to “The Peacemaker”

Finally, here’s a sermon that I preached in March from our “On To Maturity” series, on the importance of repentance. Repentance isn’t simply feeling sorry for your sins, but also implies a change of mind and action to follow Christ:

Click here to listen to a message on Repentence

Overcoming hatred with love: The power of forgiveness

We’re in the middle of the “Teach Us To Pray” series at Journey Church, where we’re diving into the model that Christ gives us for prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.

I was asked to prepare a sermon at Journey Church based around the verses “Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” I had my six-page sermon all prepared, and then the morning I was to share I sensed that I was supposed focus exclusively on forgiveness – the priority for us to not only be in a right relationship with God, but also with one another.

I re-worked my sermon and trusted the Holy Spirit to speak through me – challenging us to forgive the people who have offended us, and giving examples of how we can overcome hatred with love. Many remarked afterwards how this was a message they needed to hear – Praise God!

You can listen to the sermon here: http://jcboston.org/power-forgiveness/

Also, in my sermon, I reference Martin Luther King’s quote “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hatred cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” This is part of the text of Martin Luther King’s speech “Loving Your Enemies” which is viewable here: http://www.ipoet.com/ARCHIVE/BEYOND/King-Jr/Loving-Your-Enemies.html

Yes, in our efforts to obtain world peace, we must understand that this begins with you and me choosing to overcome hatred with love.

What is God’s Name for You?

In many ways, names define us.

God gave a few significant names to Jesus, the baby lying in the manger. He called Him Emmanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). He called him Jesus, which means “The Lord saves” (Matthew 1:21). He even said that the baby was the prince of peace and that the government rested on His shoulders (Isaiah 9:6).

The amazing thing is, in the same way that God spoke His identity over Jesus, a babe lying in the manger, He gives a name to us. What is God’s name for you? What is God speaking over your life?

In this sermon, I share about the significance of the name that he gave the babe in the manger, Jesus Christ. I also challenge each person to hear who we are to God, so that God can define our identity through Christ. In the end, the more we know who God is, the more we know who we are. Enjoy!

http://jcboston.org/child-part-2-gods/

 

Community: One Thing I’m Thankful For

Last weekend, we had the incredible blessing of having Jeff and Nancy Clark of Mutual Faith Ministries visit our church. Jeff and Nancy have had an incredible influence in the life of my pastors Kent and Gina and our budding church plant Journey Church here in Harvard Square.

One of the things they asked was, “What changes have you noticed since the church launch?”

The one thing that stands out in my mind is that I have seen a shift from Sunday services to everyone doing community together throughout the week.

As I count my blessings this Thanksgiving, the Christian fellowship that is springing up at Journey Church is something I’m so thankful for.

I must admit, in past semesters, small groups have felt a bit “annoying;” and I wished that I could be other places rather than studying the bible with my brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact, it felt a bit like pulling teeth to get people to come out weekly. But there has been a distinct shift – we have gone from one small group to four, and two of the groups are going to continue meeting even though the required number of weeks has finished!

I shared a sermon last week on Christian fellowship, explaining the various ways that the first Christians practiced this koinonia in Acts 2:42-47. I also gave some examples as to how we can live out this koinonia in our lives today. I’d encourage you to listen to the sermon here:

http://jcboston.org/koinonia-essence-christian-fellowship/

May you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Life Is No Accident

Hi friends!

Here at Journey Church, we’re in the midst of a sermon series called “God’s Not Dead,” based on a book by Rice Broocks.

As Part 4 of this series, I shared a sermon last week entitled “Life Is No Accident” – explaining the scientific, philosophical, and psychological evidence pointing to the fact that everything that is living is designed intentionally and not the product of random chance.

I used to stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon and think, “The forces that created this canyon are incredible.” This is true – but is this the end of the story? Does the beauty of our world point to anything beyond itself?

Within scientific evidence, there are irreducibly complex systems such as bacterial flagellum that contain multiple pieces that are needed simultaneously to operate properly and therefore could not have developed through a step-by-step process of adding one piece at a time, as evolution proposes. Additionally, scientists are still unable to explain how the 100 trillion cells in our body are coded with 4-letter chemical DNA alphabet.

Next, some people think that science and faith are not at odds with one another; but in reality science and faith together help us understand the world. Science actually supports theistic belief in the sense that science can answer the “what” and “how” of what we see, and philosophy/religion can help us answer the “why.”

Last, we must realize the implications of the Darwinian hypothesis are that nothing produces everything, non-life produces life, randomness produces fine-tuning, and chaos produces information. But it does appear that everything that is living is designed intentionally, and not the product of random chance.

Life has meaning and purpose. You are more than just matter and the product of random chance. God has a plan and purpose for you. Each person’s ultimate need is for meaning in his/her life, and one of our greatest callings in life is to personally discover God’s purpose for our lives. Personally, I’ve discovered such joy in living not for myself but for the one who created me.

This begins by coming to God and building a personal relationship with Jesus – You are made to relate to God in a vibrant, personal, and intimate way.

Why don’t you go to God and ask Him, “God, who am I to you? What is the purpose for my life?” You might be surprised how He will answer. I’d also encourage you to dwell on Psalm 139, describing God’s handiwork in creating you.

Listen to the entire sermon here: http://jcboston.org/gods-dead-part-4/

Sermon: Where the Spirit Dwells

Many times every day we get asked the question, “How are you?” 

But have you ever stopped to think – How are you doing, really?

Sometimes we plow through life, without really taking time to stop and think and reflect on how we are doing and what we are doing to take care of ourselves.

I preached a sermon last week entitled, “Where the Spirit Dwells.” One of the most important gifts that God has given us is the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. The Holy Spirit’s role is to guide us and to teach us and lead us through life; we must be intentional about protecting this so that God can fully glorify Himself through us. 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

God’s spirit dwells within us to the degree that we take care of ourselves and clear our schedules to live out only the call that He has for us. We must have good boundaries and be able to say no when we need to in order for us to better reflect His light and His love to the world. God can’t use us at all if we’re burned out, tired and miserable all the time – and if you feel like this, it might be time to really evaluate everything that’s on your plate.

What changes in your life do you need to make to allow His spirit to dwell more fully within you? Do you take time to engage in activities that bring you life? The better your boundaries of self-definition and self-awareness are, the better able you will be to offer empathy and love to others.

One practice that I’ve started to incorporate in my daily devotional time these past few weeks has been to ask myself, “How am I doing?” and “What do I need?”

After this, I ask God, “How am I doing in living out your call on my life?” and “What do I need most at this time?”

This practice has truly been transformative for me. I’ve realized that I need to prioritize fun and play in my life, and invite people to come along in these times. In turn, I find that I’m more productive at work and overall a whole lot happier.

My friend Christ Otto says, “God wants you to do the thing you love, be the person you were made to be and walk in the reality of your you-ness. Your true self is the unique expression of the image of God in you.”

I want you to challenge you to do this daily, as a way of partnering with God so you can take care of yourself and allow the fullness of who He made you to be to shine!

You can download or listen to my full sermon here:

 http://jcboston.org/spirit-dwells/