My 12/20/2020 sermon at Crestview continued our Colors of Christmas series, entitled White Christmas from Matthew 1:18-25. The big idea I was pushing for in White Christmas got to how Jesus came to save us from our sins (see Matthew 1:21). This sermon was a touch abbreviated, too, due to our Children’s program. Nevertheless, I hope it encourages you. In the sermon, I mentioned a verse and after the service, an online viewer texted me this graphic. Be encouraged, friends. Christmas reminds believers who Jesus is and what He came to do.
My 12/13/20 sermon at Crestview Bible Church was Blue Christmas – He Helps Our Weaknesses (Hebrews 2:14-18). There’s something about the God of the Bible who doesn’t just stand aloof and call us to rely on ourselves. He actually comes down, became man, so that He could help us in our weaknesses. This sermon is my attempt to glory in these truths. I hope it encourages you.
My 12/6/20 sermon, Gold Christmas: Our King Is Born (Isaiah 9:6), is now online. At Crestview, we’re using the colors of the Christmas season to direct our attention to Jesus. And, this week the sermon focused on the regal nature of Jesus’ arrival. He was born as King (and will return some day as King of kings and Lord of lords). I hope the sermon and this series is encouraging you.
I love Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday. I love being able to pastor through the season of Advent. Each year, we take a break from the regular, digging into the Bible verse by verse work we do each week to think about what Jesus’ coming to earth means.
This year, we are using the colors of Christmas to inspire our imaginations.
We’ve already began with Red Christmas, showing that Jesus was born to die. Gold Christmas will point to our King being born. Blue Christmas will show how Jesus enters our despair. Finally, white Christmas will focus on Jesus taking away sins. It’s a simple way to worship Christ our newborn King.
It’s been quite the 10 day stretch for me. On Saturday, November 21, I can look back now and see that I wasn’t feeling 100%, but went to bed fully anticipating waking up, and serving at Crestview, wrapping up a series of sermons on Acts 1-12, prepping our body for celebration of Advent.
I was awakened by pain in my right lower back and flank. This led to me being naseous, weak, and having to tap out early Sunday morning. Fortunately, there are many people who covered my absence that morning of November 22. I ended up in the ER getting a CT scan and some other tests, which confirmed that I had a kidney stone lodged in my ureter.
I was sent home with pain pills and meds that would help me pass the stone. This led to lots of questions and I ended up following up with my primary doctor on Tuesday, November 24. After some more tests, it was confirmed that my stone hadn’t budged and I would need surgery. I was able to get into a urologist and into surgery late Tuesday afternoon, waking up in recovery around 6 PM.
I felt good Wednesday but realized that due to anesthesia and I would need pain meds. I had a stent between my kidney and bladder, which led to lots of discomforts during normal functions of life. On Friday, I ended up tapping out again for Sunday (this time giving everyone a little more time to cover for me). On Monday, November 30 (yes, yesterday), the stent was removed and, after some initial discomfort, I was able to rest.
It’s now roughly 10 days out. I still can’t believe all that happened. It’s like a blur. Lots of time in the hospital, medical tests, and recovery. Lots of time home unable to do much. Meg was the usual strong support. And, as I mentioned, many covered my church work. I’m back in the office today, but can already tell I don’t have my legs back.
I don’t want to stiffen my jaw to paint a picture that isn’t true, like that I ascended this mountain of pain and suffering and conquered it. I did fight feelings of pity, despair, wondering, “Why me?” still not understanding, and even feeling depressed. The pain hurt. And, with all of that, I have my faith. Advent reminds me to wait expectantly for a God who will surely come through. He has. The darkness has lifted. While I’m still not 100%, I can see family, friends, and God helping me through this season. Which, coming full circle to Thanksgiving, is certainly a reason for gratitude through all of this.
Now, I get to step out and live.
Over on Crestview’s website, we’ve posted a Gratitude Guide for 2020.
The gist is that in this season, we are called away from ourselves to gratitude. We’ve tried to capture this so that we can spend some days being thankful to God. Here are graphics that show what we’re thinking:
We had a great weekend at Crestview on Sunday, 11/15. Luke preached a sermon on Acts 10-11 entitled Moved In the Mission. This was also our last weekend singing non-holiday music until 2021. My small group met and we enjoyed Thanksgiving food together. Crestview launched a Gratitude Guide 2020. Annual Report and Budget Recommendation were released and God has been so gracious to us financially. So, it was an exciting day. I hope you’re encouraged in this season.
My 11/8/20 AM sermon at Crestview Bible Church was titled God’s Incredible Works (Acts 9). It’s online now. There were some pretty incredible events that happen in chapter 9 of Acts and this sermon was my attempt to give some reminders of how God works so incredibly. I hope it encourages you in these days of uncertainty.
My 11/1/2020 sermon at Crestview Bible Church, The Gospel Advances (Acts 8), is now online. Acts 8 is often known (rightly so) for Philip sidling up to the Ethiopian eunuch to share the Gospel with him. But, there are other ways the Gospel progresses in this section, which comes on the heels of the first martyr, Stephen’s, death. I hope this sermon encourages you with the truth of the Gospel advancing.
My 10/25/20 AM sermon at Crestview, Jesus Sees and Cares (Acts 6-7) is now online. The sermon dug into the story of Stephen, the first Christian martyr and an early church leader in Jerusalem. A simple refrain emerged in these two chapters: Jesus sees and cares for His people. He sees and cares for the needs in the community, the suffering of His people, as well as their courageous witness. I hope the sermon is encouraging to you.