God is preparing us for a greater task, but that requires a physical examination to make sure we're up to it. And it's going to require breaking with tradition.
For our physical health, we need an annual exam just to check us over and make sure everything is okay. Generally, it's not the things that are on the surface that the doctor is looking for - there are little signs and under-the-surface things that are small now, but may become big later. For our spiritual health, we need even more regular examinations.
If you are sick, you’re not going to get any better by only treating your symptoms. You have to treat the problem at the source. If you’re lost in sin, you’re not going to get any better by trying to change your actions. You have to let Jesus transform your heart and mind and tackle the problem at the source.
The church is not helping the world by pointing out sin. If we want to help the world, we have to lead them to God, the only one who can fix the source of the problem.
Scripture used: John 8
We are the sons of God, the heirs of Christ. With Christ, God is our Father. Without Him, God is our judge.
We once lived under The Law. If you broke it, punishment came instantly - an eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth. The Law sentenced everyone to death because we could not keep it. But there's good news! Jesus paid for our sin and we are no longer under the law! We are made righteous in Jesus!
We are called to lay down our lives to live and care for one another. Love isn't a word or a series of words, it is actions we do that show love to each other. We need to focus on where we agree rather than where we differ.
Scriptures used: 1 John 3:10, Luke 15:25-32, Luke 10:30-37, James 3:8-18, Romans 12:9-21, Matthew 25
One thing all Christians have in common is temptation. The specifics of the temptations vary from person to person, but we all have them. The devil does a good job of making us feel like we're the only one struggling with our particular issue and that God is somehow disappointed in us for our failure, but, as you will see in this message, that is not the case!
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is her that is in you than he that is in the world. [1 John 4:4]
God's people have a tendency to live like we're defeated - like the devil can get us down. God's people should live with confidence, and boldness, and authority. Through the blood of Jesus, we are winners - satan cannot overcome God's people.
When you're under fire, if you're under faith, then you're under God's control! We have a tendency to hide from our problems - we might even seek a way to hide in drugs, alcohol, or some other distraction. But, when the pleasure of our escape wears off, the problem is still there... God's word gives us a safe place, a shelter in Him that surpasses all others.
In this message, Pastor Dennis likens our refuge in Christ to Noah's refuge in the Ark. It's a fantastic message that you won't want to miss!
Scriptures used include: Psalm 143, Psalm 119:105-117, Genesis 8:8, John 6:67, Luke 22:31, Matthew 26:69-75, and readings from Revelations.
In Psalm 136, the psalmist reminds us over and over again that every good thing, every provision God has made for us, is a product of His eternal mercy.
The negative influence that ancient Babylon had on the spiritual renewal of Gods people Israel resembles the negative influence that the world view of today has on the church.
Our church is preparing for a three-night prayer revival. The Bible frequently correlates fasting and prayer and demonstrates that the two working in tandem are powerful in drawing us into a closer walk with God so that we can see His will and open a pathway to receiving His blessing.
Often, our thoughts on fasting are not Biblical, however... Fasting is not a form of self-punishment, nor is it a way to somehow "pay" for our sin. Fasting is not something unpleasant that God forces on His people - rather, it is an invitation He extends that we can choose to accept; when we fast, we put aside ourselves and devote more time to prayer and fellowship with God.
Listen to Pastor Dennis explain the spiritual invitation of fasting in this sermon. Scriptures used: Acts 13:1-4; Ecclesiastes 5:2; Acts 14:23; Isaiah 58:6; Luke 18; Matthew 17:14-20. (Pay special attention to an alternative look at this final passage in Matthew at the end of the sermon!)
Prayer is our personal connection to God and is vastly important to our Christian life. But many of us struggle with prayer. We generally know how to do it, but we may be missing out on a deeper kind of prayer that comes from the Spirit.
Hezekiah was a righteous ruler, repairing the temple of God and restoring the house of prayer, removing the filth and garbage from the site to prepare it for God and His people. This serves as a lesson to us, as we are now the temple of God.
The temple of God was built to be a house of prayer. When Jesus entered it and found men selling doves for sacrifice, and profit, He rebuked them. Our service to God is not an avenue for personal gain, but to help Him make gains in His kingdom.
Do we start every day seeking the will of God in our lives rather than our own? Do we extend this to every aspect of our lives?
John the Baptist was a tremendous example of selflessness, gladly stepping aside from his position of authority in preparing for the coming of the Messiah once Jesus began His ministry. John gave up the comforts and prestige of priesthood to do the work to which God had called him.
If we had John's attitude, what kind of world would we live in? Perhaps one with less struggle, less poverty, and more of God's love.
Scriptures used: John 3:22-30, Matthew 11:11, John 1:6-8;15;19, Matthew 3.
In Psalm 63, David wrote from the wilderness that, even in the desert with a lack of water, God's lovingkindness was more important than water and better than life itself.
Being kind is not being permissive about sin - Jesus, our ultimate example was never abrasive nor condemning; rather, His kindness drew people in.
God chose to create a living example of His kindness in the life of Hosea when he called the prophet to marry a prostitute. Even after saving her from a horrible life of sin and despair, Gomer eventually returned to prostitution, just as Israel returned to their other gods. Nevertheless, God sent Hosea to an auction block to reclaim is lost wife, paying any cost to retrieve her. God has made that same sacrifice on our behalf, seeking to purchase us when we have squandered every blessing he has given us.
Scriptures used: Psalm 63, Hosea 2:16-3:5, John 4, Isaiah 63:7, Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 4:31-32, Luke 6:35.