Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sermon Notes...When Wine Won't Work

Mark 14:32-42 (New Living Translation) They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” 33 He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. 34 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 35 He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. 36 “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” 37 Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 38 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 39 Then Jesus left them again and prayed the same prayer as before. 40 When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say. 41 When he returned to them the third time, he said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But no—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”

Context: The Jewish Passover Seder, is an annual dinner which celebrates and remembers, the Israelite exodus from Egyptian slavery. Four glasses of wine are built into the meal's order. However, during the meal, the disciples were distressed (Mark 14:19); and after the meal, Jesus became deeply troubled and distressed/crushed with grief (verses 33-34). Sometimes, wine won't work! 

Introduction: Drinking alcohol is not sinful. Being drunk and unable to function is sinful. The latter issue is a problem that plagues us, and it deserves our attention and action. Knowing and understanding why we drink is important. Some are social drinkers, celebratory drinkers, while others are problem/depression drinkers. Drinking does not make your problems disappear...

Transition: Isn't it interesting that while drinking, and after drinking that depression didn't get lighter but heavier? The disciples heard that there was a traitor at the dinner table and while drinking, depression hits. Jesus has finished drinking four glasses of wine, he's been singing and has taken a walk, but depression hits! What do you do, When Wine Won't Work?

Exposition: Be familiar with these four principles...

-Don't make new friends (Judas is gone and isn't replaced)

-Stick to the proven place and practice (Gethsemane and prayer)

-Elevate God's design above your desire (nevertheless)

-Remember that your flesh isn't a friend to good intentions (body is weak)

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Sermon Notes...Make It Count!

Matthew 16:24  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.

Hebrews 12:2-3 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.

Introduction: Life is a matter of will, not ability. We are able to live amazingly extraordinary existences, but our desire and determination makes the difference.

Transition: These scriptural passages confront us with two significant questions...

   -Aim: What is your life about?
   -Action: How do you live your life?

Exposition: Here's how we all should live our lives, in order to Make It Count!
   -Submissively... according to God's design
   -Steadily... don't quit when it's hard
   -Shamelessly... don't be bothered by people
   -Subsequently... working now with next in mind

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Sermon Notes: Lost & Found Part 2

Luke 15:8-10 (New Living Translation) “Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ 10 In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.”

Context: 10 silver coins (two weeks wages) make up the savings of a woman, who loses 1 coin in her home. How she loses it, and how long it had been lost, is not disclosed. One scholar suggests that the coin was heavy, so it fell. The coin was round, so it rolled. The coin was dead/inanimate, so it laid flat on the floor, waiting to be found.

Introduction: The previous parable and our text are essentially the same. Something is lost and soon found. Nuance is introduced with the imaginative inclusiveness of Jesus' language. Jesus decides to cast a woman in the leading role of a story, that he's telling to some narrow minded men.

Transition: A shepherd's passion for his sheep was on display in verses 1-7, but the intrinsic and sacred worth of the lost is promoted in verses 8-10. Being lost doesn't diminish something's value...

Exposition: Intentional (plan in practice) and logical (sensible) steps are taken...

   1) Illumination (lamp) Light (God's word/Psalm 119:105) drives away darkness. Valuables hide in the cool darkness.

   2) Agitation (sweep) You can't get what you want without working for it! Your work is for now (finding the coin) and next (a party)!

   3) Concentration (search carefully) She's not talking, she's only searching! I'm sure at some point she grew discouraged, but she didn't quit. Stay focused and don't give in to distractions.

Conclusion: Just like the previous parable, this one ends with a party. This time the party isn't over a sheep but a coin. The coin may of been small change to her friends and neighbors, but it wasn't to her. We must learn how to be grateful for blessings, large and small!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Sermon Notes: Lost & Found Part 1

Luke 15:1-7 (New Living Translation) Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them! 3 So Jesus told them this story: 4 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. 6 When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’  7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!

Context: Church leaders are having a problem with Jesus hanging out with sinners. They have a narrow view of what it means to be the church (a haven of mercy and a place of grace); a misunderstanding of what kingdom building looks like (catching fish so they can be cleaned). So, Jesus tells a series of stories to correct their improper imposition on his ministry of meeting people where they are.

Introduction: Typically, people have the tendency of assuming, that where you are now in life is how things have always been. They start in verse 7 of your life, thinking that your life has always been party time. 

Transition: The Christian life is not meant to be lived alone. It’s meant to be lived out in a community of others with like faith.

Here’s my sermon in short: I was lost but now I’m found!
Once the lost has been found, I love how the shepherd handles the situation. There’s a sense of care on display as well as being careful.

Here’s the point: Don’t allow your issues to keep you away from us. We’re family! We love you and just want to lift you up! The truth is that we’re just like you!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sermon Notes: Ain't Too Proud to Beg

Title... Ain't Too Proud to Beg

Text... Romans 12:1 (New Living Translation) "And so dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind the will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him."

Introduction: The Temptations we're an impeccably dressed, smooth voiced group of talented men, who knew that sometimes begging isn't a bad thing. The Temptations and the Apostle Paul, display the skills to sweet talk their way into progressive action.

Transition: Paul transitions abruptly from doctrinal faith affirmations, to chapter 12 with practical faith applications. The immediate implication is that this is an appeal to the Christian's close kinship; this is a family affair! Sadly, family won't always volunteer to do the right thing, and sometimes begging seems to work.

Exposition: Paul packs this single verse, with a significant plea, for the children of God to be devoted to and concerned about pleasing God by doing our absolute best...

This is too serious for us to make verbal vows today, and do nothing to improve. Reference Matthew 15:8-9 "‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’” 

     -Plead...God desires, deserves and demands our best. Mediocrity isn't an option, because Jesus was sacrificed so we can live! This plea isn't merely for our individual lives, but it's spiritual, including the church of Jesus Christ.

     -All...This word sounds exhaustive. The list of the Lord's love acts, is far too long for us to count!After all that the Lord has done for me, I'm going to do the best I can for him!

     -Done...God is a show me God! Reference Romans 5:8 "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners."

     -Sacrifice...Paul gives a parallel between the dead offering form (animal blood for atonement; fat gives adoration to God for the meat), and the living reality. Worship in it's true form is a lifestyle. Being good and doing good in daily life, pleases and glorifies God.

Conclusion: Colossians 3:23 "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people."

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Sermon Notes: When Your Hustle Is A Hassle

Title... When Your Hustle Is A Hassle

Text... Exodus 18:13-27 *Follow link to the scripture*

Introduction: We are familiar with Moses as a hero, but in our vernacular he was a hustler. Work didn't intimidate him. Moses was a man's man, who had a hard time bringing his life into balance.

Transition: Single life gives you freedom to pour yourself into whatever you desire to, but when you are in a committed relationship, you have to make sure that your hustle doesn't become your hassle...

Exposition: Here are the signs you should beware of...

1) Your methods are antiquated
A Walkerism: "Struggle is a mentality. Change the way you think/act and better living is the result." If everything around you is growing and moving on, but you remain the same, demolition will be imminent.

2) You're everyone's first call
When you are everyone's crutch, there's no need for them to heal. You've effectively crippled them, by teaching them that you'll always be there to catch them when they fall.

3) You don't have time for yourself
Spending all of your time helping others is noble, but it's not wise (Reference Mark 14:7). It's important to your health and sanity, to learn how to say NO! Their problem doesn't have to be your priority.

Take-A-Way: Jethro's advice was critically constructive and lovingly shared, then he went back home. Stop trying to shove your advice down other people's throats!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Sermon Notes: Parts Unknown ~ Be Careful With Me

Title... Parts Unknown ~ Be Careful With Me (Anthony Bourdain, Cardi B & Psalm 55 collide)
Text... Psalm 55 

Three Primary Assertions:
1) Often life is hard and lonely... verses 1-3
2) Disappearing is an unhealthy thought... verses 4-8
3) There's deliverance for those in despair... verses 16-19, 22-23

Anthony Bourdain:
We all have Parts Unknown that even those closest to us, have no clue exist. Deep, dark and damaging parts, that cause us to be dysfunctional when left to ourselves. It's not always about being unhappy or being depressed; some people are just impulsive, tired and others feel like their out of options.

Cardi B:
Success is not a shield against being hurt and broken. Life is just as hard for the rich as it is for the poor. So Cardi makes lot of sense when she says:
I gave you everything, what's mine is yours
I want you to live your life of course
But I hope you get what you dyin' for
Be careful with me, do you know what you doin'?
Whose feelings that you hurtin' and bruisin'?
You gon' gain the whole world
But is it worth the girl that you're losin'?
Be careful with me
Yeah, it's not a threat, it's a warnin'
Be careful with me
Yeah, my heart is like a package with a fragile label on it
Be careful with me.

Psalm 55: Be honest with God, so God can help you. Don't bottle up your anger/aggression (verses 9-14), because some things need to be talked out. There's nothing wrong with having a pastor and a therapist! You need to pray and take your pills! Health begins with honesty, with yourself, with God and with other people.