My good friend, Vivek, brought the thunder yesterday with a strong word from Acts 16:6-40 to Follow God’s Spirit. Vivek in a friend and an international partner we support. The sermon was challenging as Vivek’s aim was to encourage us to “prayerfully follow Jesus’ Spirit to see God’s kingdom break into your daily reality.” It was a call to live life on mission. And, I was convicted and encouraged. What a great word. Check out the sermon and hear the challenge for yourself.
My 6/16/19AM sermon, God With Us (1 Samuel 18), is now online. I had been in vacation in the earlier parts of June (and been sick one week), so I was just getting back in the saddle with this sermon. The thing that stood out to me is how often we go at life alone, wondering where God is in the midst of our mess. But, God is with us. We can expect certain things as He is with us. And, this is what I try to unpack in this sermon. I hope it encourages you.
My 5/19/19AM sermon, God Sees (1 Samuel 16), is now online. This sermon served to transition us from a section in which we saw the decline of King Saul and the rise of David. There were numerous instances of this idea of God seeing things, culminating in that encouragement to not look at the outward appearance for the Lord looks at the heart.
From David’s anointing to his service in Saul’s court, there are many pointers to Jesus as well as applications for our lives. I hope this sermon encourages and challenges you.
My 5/12/19AM sermon, God Desires Obedience (1 Samuel 15), is now online. This sermon was a difficult one. It certainly didn’t prove to be a flowery Mother’s Day sermon (although it did highlight what makes all believers strong: their obedience to the Lord). In this sermon, God relented, Samuel said God doesn’t relented and we were told God relented, so there was that. I hope my explanation proved helpful.
In this chapter, I’ve always been puzzled about how obedience is better than sacrifice. I’ve thought worship was the highest aim. So, how could obedience be better. My explanation would go this way: sacrifice is easy because any of us can offer something else in worship. But, in obedience, I become the sacrifice. I die to all my wishes, desires, and authority and put myself under the One who has all authority. Therefore, worship of God is showcased more in obedience than in some outward show.
There was much in this sermon and I hope it encourages you.
My 5/5/19AM sermon, The God Who Saves (1 Samuel 14), is now online. This sermon dug into another failure in King Saul’s leadership, especially as he was contrasted with his son, Jonathan. Jonathan’s confidence in God was amazing: “Who knows? God may help us. He doesn’t need many or few.” I hope this sermon gives you a sense of how God works to save His people. Whether its working through those who have a strong trust in God or overcoming the work of fools, God is at work to save His people. This is good news and I hope it encourages you.
In the month of May at Crestview, we’re going to be learning/singing the CityAlight song Christ Is Mine Forevermore by Jonny Robinson and Rich Thompson (CCLI # 7036096). Scott Cornish arranged this for us. Part of the reason in choosing this song is to be honest about the realities (and struggles) we have living life in this fallen world. Further, the heavenly vision that this song ends with is so helpful in stirring up our affections (in a good way) to really live the life we’ve been called to. I hope you resonate with it and it encourages you. Here are the lyrics:
Mine are days that God has numbered
I was made to walk with Him
Yet I look for worldly treasure
And forsake the King of kings
But mine is hope in my Redeemer
Though I fall His love is sure
For Christ has paid for every failing
I am His forevermore
Mine are tears in times of sorrow
Darkness not yet understood
Through the valley I must travel
Where I see no earthly good
But mine is peace that flows from heaven
And the strength in times of need
I know my pain will not be wasted
Christ completes His work in me
Mine are days here as a stranger
Pilgrim on a narrow way
One with Christ I will encounter
Harm and hatred for His name
But mine is armour for this battle
Strong enough to last the war
And He has said He will deliver
Safely to the golden shore
And mine are keys to Zion city
Where beside the King I walk
For there my heart has found its treasure
Christ is mine forevermore
Come rejoice now O my soul
For His love is my reward
Fear is gone and hope is sure
Christ is mine forevermore
CCLI Song # 7036096
Jonny Robinson | Rich Thompson
© 2016 Jonny Robinson, CityAlight Music (Admin. by Jonathan Robinson)
Rich Thompson, CityAlight Music (Admin. by Rich Thompson)
My 4/28/19AM sermon, More Power More Problems (1 Samuel 13), is now online. The sermon got into a 3 chapter episode that will help show why Saul isn’t a king that has confidence in God. Specifically, we saw how circumstances of life and fear can overwhelm us and cause us to view God as unnecessary. It’s in the midst of this seemingly hopeless situation that God will show what He’s up to. I hope this sermon enourages you.
After the Easter holiday, this coming Lord’s Day I plan to return to 1 Samuel 13 and pick up where I left off 2 weeks ago (Lord willing). In 1 Samuel 13, we have the first mention of what could be an interpretive problem. After Saul is rejected for his foolishness (and going hard after his own ingenuity and impatience rather than God), we are told that God would choose a new king after His own heart.
This has led many to speculate something like this: God was looking throughout the land to see if there was anyone who loved Him above everything else and, whew, He found that person in David. David was awesome-sauce. He was able to kill giants, wild animals threatening the flock, honor Saul, befriend Jonathan, fight the Philistines. His heart for God is evident in all of this. He wrote the Psalms for goodness sake.
Unfortunately, this interpretation doesn’t take into account the train wreck that was David’s personal life: multiple wives, the use of position/authority to rape, kill, and take. How he (especially in 2 Samuel) increasingly looks more like Saul (and a king like the other nations) than one who has a heart for God. So, how do we make sense of this?
I’m helped by what Jen Wilkin and others have said and written. Jen invited us to consider thinking of this phrase like the line from the hymn A Mighty Fortress: “a man of God’s own choosing.” John Woodhouse, for instance, says this phrase “a man after God’s own heart” means:
“a man of God’s own choosing, a man God has set his heart on. [It is] talking about the place the man has in God’s heart rather than the place God has in the man’s heart”.
(Woodhouse, 1 Samuel: Looking for a Leader, page 287)
Another article that discusses this in a longer way is called David: A Man Chosen According to God’s Heart. I’ve also benefitted from the following episodes of the Knowing Faith podcast featuring Jen Wilkin, JT English, and Kyle Worley. Check out episode 31 (There’s No Such Thing as 2 Samuel) at the 12:50 mark, episode 35 (People Getting Shanked) at the 7:30 mark, and episode 40 (Not What It Looks Like) at the 18:40 mark.
So, if we follow this line of reasoning…
What made David special wasn’t something within him but something outside of him. Specifically, in contrast to Saul, who was tall, handsome, and the one the people asked for, we have David, a man chosen according to God’s heart, who did many worthy things in preparing to and eventually becoming king. He did these not because they came naturally, but because God had chosen him.
I hope this encourages you and it’s something we can continue to be curious about as we move through 1 and 2 Samuel.
My Easter 2019 sermon, The Sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:38-41), is now online. Easter really is one message: Jesus died, was buried, and rose again on the 3rd day, according to the Scriptures. This Easter, I chose these words from Jesus as He interacted with the religious leaders to guide our people into enjoyment of resurrection truth. This sermon was able to discuss signs, the obvious work that Jesus did, as well as point to how glorious Jesus is as the Ultimate Prophet. I hope it encourages you.
When Jesus was on the cross, there are seven sayings that came from His mouth. In my sermon on 4/14, I sought to prep our people for Holy Week by walking through these Seven Sayings of Jesus on the Cross. I hope this sermon helps give an awareness of who Jesus is and what He came to do.