A man given Hope
Sun, Sep 08, 2013
Duration:58 mins
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:May grace and peace be multiplied to you. (1 Peter 1:1-2, ESV) Are you a pessimist or an optimist? One friend (who leans heavily toward the pessimist side) answered this question, "I'm neither. I'm a realist!" What's your lens for the world. Is everything heading down toward oblivion? Or are you looking for your shades because the future is too bright for your unguarded eyes? This week, we begin our new series, Living in Hope: A Study of 1 Peter. Peter was an apostle, who walked with Jesus, led the early church, and knew a little about difficult circumstances--both self-inflicted and externally imposed. But he also knew something about hope. We are going to begin this week by taking a look at his background, his life with Jesus, and his leadership in the church. I pray that this series will give us all a realistic look at life and a reason for true, living hope. Take some time to prepare your heart and mind by reading through 1 Peter. What are some the ideas, phrases, and themes that he repeats as he writes? Why do you think those are important?
Run the Race
Sun, Sep 01, 2013
Duration:42 mins
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.(1 Corinthians 9:25-27, ESV) I've been on a bit of journey this year. And I want to tell you about it. It's been difficult and painful at times. It's been revealing and enlightening (in several ways). But it's been a journey. This week, between series, I want to take some time to talk to you about what God has taught me in the last 9 months, while I made an attempt to evaluate and change some things in my life. This won't be an "Andy is awesome" sermon or a drive-by guilt trip, but hopefully it will become an encouragement to lean into Jesus for all that He is. Also this week, we are giving our Treehouse workers a week off as we prepare to go full-steam ahead for the coming school year. We will have some activities for the kids. And we will still have a full Playground slate of classes. Next week I'm excited to start our fall series Living In Hope: A Study of 1 Peter. If you want to get ahead, begin reading through this great book that points us to the only source of hope, Jesus.
The Grand Reversal
Sun, Aug 25, 2013
Duration:43 mins
On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. (Esther 6:1 ESV) Insomnia! Some try to cure it through pills or counting sheep. For Persian kings, they seemed to treat it with the reading of official court documents. But behind the sleeplessness and the reading, there was a plan. There was a grand reversal about to take place. This week we will close out the story of Esther. In this rapid, dramatic end, we will see that while God can and has worked through grand, miraculous movements, He is also powerful enough to work through the ordinary actions of people to accomplish his purposes. Take some time to read through Esther 6-10.
2 Strategies (Haman's & God's)
Sun, Aug 18, 2013
Duration:40 mins
Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:13-14, ESV) God is completely in control. From the largest shifts on a global scale to the roll of the dice, His sovereign hand rules over it all. We have seen this and will continue to see this in Esther. With this truth hovering over us, we are tempted to think that what we do is of little consequence. In fact, if we are not careful, we can veer off into inaction or worse, into sin, because God is gonna do what He will do. But scripture never allows us to think that God's sovereignty vacates our responsibility. In fact, it calls us to move in concert with His will, not against it. This week, Esther is presented with such a choice. Will she put herself at risk and possibly be the instrument of deliverance, or will she fall into inaction? I want to encourage you to read through Esther 4-7 as we continue to unfold this amazing story of a hidden but sovereign God.
2 Men & 2 Plots
Sun, Aug 11, 2013
Duration:43 mins
In those days, as Mordecai was sitting at the king's gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king's eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. And this came to the knowledge of Mordecai, and he told it to Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in the name of Mordecai. (Esther 2:21-22, ESV) No good deed goes unpunished. This little quip is thrown around when we don't get what we think we deserve. In fact, while we don't call it that, we kind of believe in karma. If I do good stuff, good stuff will come around. But what if it doesn't? What if you do the good, noble, right thing and are forgotten or worse punished? Is it still worth doing? As we come to the core of the Esther story, we are confronted with a convoluted storyline where do-gooders are forgotten and villains are promoted. And, worse yet, their plots are advanced. And we are left to wonder if God knows, cares, and is still in charge. Take some time in the next couple days to read through Esther 2-6. We will be continuing to look for the hidden God.
2 Queens - 2 Banquets
Sun, Aug 04, 2013
Duration:42 mins
He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter. (Esther 2:7, ESV) Reading through the story of scripture can sometimes feel more like a fantasy adventure than real life. With amazing miracles and words from God coming down, it can make real life seem dull and silent. I've never seen a burning bush, witnessed a miracle, or taken a long journey. So have you and I ever witnessed God at work? Esther is the story of a hidden God. The most remarkable thing about this book is that the name of God is never mentioned and no one ever prays. In fact, I think in some ways this book gives us the most realistic way that God works in our day. And it is one of the most interesting, engaging, and comical stories in scripture. Take some time this weekend between now and Sunday to read through Esther, and be ready to enter into this engaging story.
Working for a Living
Sun, Jul 14, 2013
Duration:28 mins
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. Proverbs 14:23 The proverbs tell us that good work habits generally lead to prosperity, and that work habits grow out of character, and that character is formed by our awe of God. This week we will look at what the book of Proverbs has to say about work, some "nonprofessional" areas of application, and some examples.
Sun, Jul 07, 2013
Duration:50 mins
My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. (Proverbs 7:1-3, ESV) In Proverbs 5-7, there is a central and important theme that Solomon urges his son to understand. In fact, he tells his son the failure to grasp these truths are a matter of life and death. What could be that important? His understanding of and place of sex in his life. Generally the modern church seems to have taken one of two approaches to this subject. Either with red faces, we have avoided the subject at all costs pointing to politeness or piety. Or we have acted like junior high school boys, snickering in the corner in having discovered a forbidden curiosity. This week we want to look at these chapters and deal with sexuality in the Proverbs clearly, honestly, and most importantly biblically. My goal with this sermon is to be frank, but not vulgar, because this subject is vital in our day to think rightly about. (For those with children, I will leave it to your discretion for your family to look at the following website which has been a help and encouragement in my preparation): I believe that in these texts, God has work to do in our lives, hearts, relationships, and marriages. I encourage you to take some time over the next few days to slowly read Proverbs 5-7.
Sun, Jun 30, 2013
Duration:36 mins
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17 Friendship and brotherhood is such an important principle of faith. God is so concerned with it that 6 of the 10 commandments deal with our relationships to one another. How do we become good friends? What unites us in our friendships? This week we will look at what the book of Proverbs has to say about this.
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