August 11, 2013
INTRODUCTION – Jesus Christ – during His earthly ministry had an intriguing conversation with a Samaritan woman about worship (among other things). In that conversation He revealed that those who want their worship to be accepting and pleasing in the sight of the living God must worship Him “in spirit and in truth.” He repeats that phrase again to make sure she and we get it. You can read about it in John chapter 4.

One of the ways we have sought to apply this principle in our worship services is that we try to provide an environment wherein truth in all of its breadth and depth is valued and sought – usually in the form of a thoroughly prepared sermon or teaching; and we also try to provide an environment wherein revelation from the Holy Spirit is valued – usually in the form of a spontaneous prophetic word, scripture reading, tongue with interpretation, spiritual song, exhortation, testimony, etc. And we try to cover our worship gatherings in prayer in the days leading up to it. Continue reading A Biblical Theology of Music and Singing – part I

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July 28, 2013
INTRODUCTION – One of the things the Jews around the Jerusalem area in the first century were very proud about was the fact (in their minds) that they were sons and daughters of Abraham. Last week we focused our attention on how Stephen helped to bring clarity to the way they saw Abraham’s life and faith and calling as seen in vs. 2-8a of Acts chapter 7.

Whether we are talking about Jews or those who call themselves Christians – many in both camps tend to put their faith and identity in the wrong places. Their perception of what is required to please God and be in good standing with Him – or even who He is – is often not grounded in reality or truth, but is passed down from generation to generation – – and rather blindly and passively accepted as true.
An effective fisher of men or laborer for the harvest will discern in time – where the person or persons they are dealing with or relating to – have put their trust and security, who they really worship, and they will by God’s grace and power – bring these things to light. Most people – whatever faith they claim to belong to – have a really warped concept of God, don’t have a clue what grace is all about, and don’t yet see why it was so absolutely necessary for Jesus Christ to shed His blood on the cross of Calvary. Continue reading The Twelve Patriarchs Acts 7:8b-18

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July 21, 2013

INTRODUCTION – Last week we saw how desperately the world needs the church to produce men like Stephen, who not only are committed to serve the needy and the local church, but who also walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and the fullness of Christ. We also saw that only when the church’s leaders stick to their priorities of devotion to prayer and the ministry of the word – – and only when the congregations devote themselves to prayer and encourage their leaders to stick to their priorities- – and also gladly serve to take some of the load off the shoulders of their leaders – – will these kind of Spirit filled men be produced. Man centered churches and church programs will never produce men (or women) who are full of the Holy Spirit, full of wisdom, full of faith and full of grace., and who can thus be God’s instrument for transformation in their cities.

And can I add here that ministries that only focus on meeting physical/material needs, and do not pursue the fullness of the Holy Spirit in their own personal lives – – these ministries or ministers will short change our communities, and will not accurately represent the God who loves and longs to invade our cities with His power and transforming grace. Any ministry done in the name of Christ must have people full of Christ doing the ministry. At least we should all be striving for that fullness.
Well today as we jump into chapter 7 we are going to take a good long look at this remarkable sermon or defense that Stephen gave, but before we do – I want to make sure you understand who the defense is being given to and why. Continue reading Stephen’s Sermon & Response Acts 7:1-60

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July 14, 2013

INTRODUCTION – One of the patterns starting to develop in our journey together through the book of Acts is occasional progress reports or snapshots of the health and fruitfulness and impact of the early church
5 Progress Reports – Snapshots of the Health/Fruitfulness Assessments

Acts 1:14 “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”

Acts 2:42-47 – They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Continue reading How to Multiply Disciples – Acts 6:1-15

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INTRODUCTION – Not surprisingly, media outlets like the Atlantic Monthly in their June issue – – perhaps hoping to influence the Supreme Court’s any day decision re: marriage – – for sure trying to influence popular culture re: their view of marriage – – these media outlets of late – – have been predicting and proclaiming the inevitable demise or death of traditional marriage as we have known it.

In Liza Mundy’s cover article “The Gay Guide to Wedded Bliss” several facts are stated in her introduction to substantiate her claims or conclusions or solutions – such as: 1. Americans are waiting longer to get married or are putting marriage off longer than ever before. The median age of a person’s first marriage is 28 for men and 26 for women, up from 23 and 20, respectively, in 1950. 2. Rates of cohabitation ……. or couples living together without getting married have risen swiftly and sharply, …… and more people than ever are living single. 3. Most Americans still marry at some point, but many of those marriages end in divorce. 4. Having children before you marry – if you marry at all is becoming more common. Continue reading Why children and young people can look forward to a happy harmonious heterosexual marriage!

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INTRODUCTION – Progress reports or assessments of the early church = 2:42-27; 4:32-37; 5:12-16. 7 things from this passage, though really only 6 of them are signs or marks of a healthy church that concern us.

Signs and wonders at hands of apostles – vs. 12

Unity among the church – vs. 12b

Healthy reticence to want to join this group – vs. 13a

Esteemed highly or healthy respect by watching world – vs. 13b

Constant growth of new believers being added to the church – vs. 14

Peter’s anointing for healing was being especially sought out – vs. 15

People from cities around Jerusalem coming for healing and “all” getting healed – vs. 16
Continue reading THE PATH TO CHURCH GROWTH AND HEALTH – Acts 5:12-16

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June 2, 2013

INTRODUCTION – Review of Last week – the early church in Jerusalem walked in a very full measure of purity, signs, wonders, unity, healings to the point where multitudes of men and women were constantly being added to the church and people from surrounding cities were bringing the sick and demonized to be healed and delivered. Even those who were unwilling to bow the knee to Jesus and join this fast growing powerful church respected them from afar.

Transition: Whenever a church begins to walk and minister in the power of God, the enemy rises up in fear and jealousy, and interestingly enough – opposition and persecution often comes through religious not secular leaders.

As we finish chapter five today – we are going to read about two back to back arrests of the apostles by the religious authorities. I believe the Holy Spirit led Luke to record these accounts so we could learn some things about how God defends His church, and how His church must respond when opposition and persecution breaks out. Continue reading The Church’s Defender! Acts 5:17-42

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This was an address I gave at a regional retreat of our association of churches a few years back.

My journey:
– Born and raised in a So. Bapt Church – no significant mention of H.S. that I can remember for 19 + yrs
– Navs – 3 yrs.; Bible church in San Jose for 4 yrs. – – minimal emphasis
– Dallas Seminary – there for 6 yrs; Attended a Chinese non/anti charismatic church for 1st 2 yrs; Then an Evangelical Non charism. Church for the last 4 years. Minimal emphasis on positives; warning of negatives re: Holy Spirit
– Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand 3 week vacation in missionary place Continue reading Knowing God the Holy Spirit

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April 7th, 2013

INTRODUCTION – Thursday morning at 1:30 fumbling to find my cell phone…. finally had to turn my little bedside lamp on to find it at which point I was greatly relieved somehow– but my poor wife sat straight up in bed and …..

Sometimes when the light of Christ invades the darkness of people who do not yet know the Lord it jolts and shakes them. Sometimes they greatly resent it, but without this precious light – individuals are at the mercy of the Destroyer, and by the way he has no mercy. Without this light – families crumble; communities are torn apart by all the things darkness specializes in like crime and addictions and greed and exploitation of the weak and vulnerable. Without the light of Christ there is no hope that anything can ever be different than it presently is. Continue reading Brightening Our Light – Acts 4:1-37

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March 2013
This morning – for the first time in my 20 Easters here at LOCF – we are going to have an easter egg hunt – right here in our sanctuary. We have hidden a number of eggs inside our building; and each egg has both something delicious to eat; and something for us to chew on as to why we have come together in the first place. To be more specific – inside each egg we are going to find some clues to some answers to two questions re: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. First – did it really happen? And second, if it did, what does that mean for you and me? Why does it matter?

So to answer those questions – we need to find some eggs – and to find those eggs I need some egg finders. Could all of the children in the sixth grade and under come down here and sit with me on the floor? Continue reading The Resurrected and Ruling – Jesus Christ – Easter Sunday

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INTRODUCTION – We began last week a series on the topic of justice for a variety of reasons.
1. Because I’ve never had a course on it. Never read a whole book just on that subject. Never heard a sermon preached on it except for clips from some Martin Luther King sermons. And yet I keep coming across the words, “Just”, Justice and injustice in the scriptures as I read them day after day.

2. I am on a task force for the Statesmen’s group, which is an international group that Dennis Peacocke leads – – and our particular task force has been given the assignment to produce a biblical theology on the main topics in scripture that bear on city reaching or city transformation. And in our discussions in Dallas back in September I was given the assignment to produce some papers on the theme of justice in scripture since no city is going to be transformed unless justice is taken seriously and executed faithfully and courageously, and everyone in our group admitted along with me that they had never done justice to the subject of justice, and no one else seemed inclined to do justice to the subject of justice. Continue reading Becoming a People of Justice – Part II

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INTRODUCTION – Why a series (2 or 3 Sundays) on justice?

1. Because – like marriage – the concept of justice has been corrupted and twisted by those who claim to represent God, but in fact do not know Him. Some who speak of justice today do not claim to represent God, but do claim to have a corner on the truth regarding justice. One of the more recent local examples of this is the letter written to the editor of the Tribune a few months ago re: the Boy Scouts. One of the primary reasons letters and positions like this are allowed to be stated and proclaimed with little response or rebuttal is because the church, which is supposed to be the pillar and support of the truth has not – by and large – taught on the topic of justice, and discipled its people to carry it out as a lifestyle. We need to band together and do our part to turn this around.

2. One of my assignments for the task force I became a member of in the conference in Dallas on City Transformation back in September was to present a biblical theology on the topic of justice (along with the unity of the church and a biblical theology of cities). I’ve already sent off the unity and cities papers. But I just started the justice ones this week, and so it seemed appropriate to share some of these truths with you. Continue reading Becoming a People of Justice – Part I –

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September 16, 2012

INTRODUCTION – Dr. Albert Mohler – the president of one of the largest graduate level theological schools in our nation; and surely one of the greatest scholars and thinkers of our time, wrote concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ, “The bodily resurrection of Jesus is so absolutely fundamental and necessary to Biblical Christianity – and to the gospel – that its abandonment would mean the end of Christianity as revealed in the New Testament. Jesus would be just one more Palestinian rebel; one more wisdom teacher with rag-tag disciples.”

There are many reputable and well documented books on the evidence of the bodily resurrection of Christ; so if you really want to go in depth – I’ll be glad to point you to one or more of those. But this morning – I want to briefly introduce you to the evidence from Matthew chps. 27 & 28 and then talk with you about the ramifications of it for those of us sitting in this room. Continue reading Jesus – Risen, Ruling & Recruiting! – Matthew 27:62-28:20

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September 9, 2012

INTRODUCTION – Today we continue our journey through the passion or suffering of Jesus Christ that started in ch. 26. I would like for you to turn in your Bibles to Matthew 27; and we are going to start with vs. 33 first looking at Jesus’s refusal to drink the spiked wine.

I. vs. 33,34 Jesus’s refusal of the spiked wine
By this point, Jesus had experienced multiple interrogations/trials, beatings, and that unspeakable flesh tearing scourging, all without any meals or water breaks in between. He had lost lots of blood, especially after the 39 lashes; and had to be in terrible pain, extremely thirsty and hungry, though eating was probably the least of His concerns. This by the way is why they had to enlist Simon to carry His cross (vs. 32).
So when Jesus arrived to the place called Golgotha, they offered Him wine mixed with gall. The question is why? And what was the purpose of mixing the gall with the wine? Continue reading The Passion IV – Matthew 27:33-66

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August 26, 2012

INTRODUCTION – Length or extent of coverage given; and yet we tend to skip over it or speed read it. Never heard anyone say their favorite verse in the Bible was out of these chapters.
And yet we are clearly commanded in the N.T. to “Consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Continue reading The Passion of Christ – Matthew 27:1-32

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Aug. 19, 2012
Jesus’ Prophecy re: the Disciples’ falling away & Peter’s denial vs. 31-35
Prayer and slumber in the garden of Gethsemane – vs. 36-46
The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus – vs. 47-56
The High Priest tried before the High Priest – vs. 57-68
Peter’s Denials of Christ – vs. 69-75

I. Jesus’s prophecy re: the Disciples’ falling away & Peter’s denial vs. 31-35 four observations:
A. God often prepared Jesus for what was to come through the O.T. scriptures. Very likely that Jesus didn’t know this until He meditated on that scripture in Zechariah 13:7, and then the Father revealed to Him that all of His 12 disciples would flee when Jesus was arrested and tried. Continue reading Passion of Jesus III – Matthew 26:31-75

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July 24, 2012

INTRODUCTION – Last week we began our journey through chapters 26 & 27 of matthew which are focused on the suffering or the passion of Christ – culminating with His burial in the tomb of a man named Joseph. For various reasons the four gospel writers often did not all write about some of the things Jesus said and did, but when it comes to the Passion of Christ – – they all four wrote in great detail – – which tells us that we dare not make light of this crucial part of His life.

One cannot understand or know or follow Jesus Christ if he does not understand the significance of His suffering and death.

Latest 5 p’s from this passage: “Prudent pondering of the passion produces piety” Continue reading The Passion of Christ II – Matthew 26:17-35

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July 15, 2012

INTRODUCTION – J.C. Ryle’s introduction to chps. 26,27 p. 345

I. The Plot to Kill Jesus – vs. 1-5 (read it) all what words? (ch. 24,25)
how were they supposed to know?
A. This is the latest of a number of x’s Jesus sought to emotionally and theologically prepare His disciples for His suffering & death . Listen as I read them to you:
“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and there nights in the heart of the earth.”

“From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem , and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.” 16:21 “but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 17:12 Continue reading The Passion of Jesus I – Matthew 26:1-16

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July 8, 2012
INTRODUCTION – As we jump into Matthew 25, which is the second chapter of a two chapter discussion about the end times, let’s first do a quick review of Matthew 24 – Jesus answers the questions of His disciples – so that they can be familiar with the events that will lead up to the end of the age and the return of our Lord; and so that they can live in a way that will enable them to avoid the deception that will be rife in the last days; and not be tainted by the lawlessness that will also be rife in the last days; and instead be fully engaged in His kingdom agenda in the nations until He returns or death knocks at our door.
Our emphasis as a fellowship in the whole realm of eschatology or the study of the last days or end times is Jesus’s emphasis: a general understanding of end time events; but focus on how to be found ready and prepared for His return.

The whole chapter of Matthew 25 is given to help us be found ready and pleasing in His sight when He returns. Continue reading Preparing for the Lord’s Return II – Matt. 25:1-46

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June 2012
INTRODUCTION – Ch. 24,25 are in response to a question of the disciples, as seen in vs. 3, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Two weeks ago we looked at the context of this question and the beginning of Jesus’s long almost two chapter answer to this question and to the question they should have asked, but didn’t because they like us by nature are more interested in knowledge than they are proper responses to that knowledge.

For the sake of review I want to read what we covered two weeks ago; and then I want to read our first section for today = vs. 15-22 that introduces the subject of the coming Great Tribulation. Continue reading The Great Tribulation & Return or Second Coming of Christ – Matthew 24:15-51

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May 20, 2012

INTRODUCTION – In our ongoing series in the gospel of Matthew we jump into ch. 24 this morning, which along with ch. 25 forms a long two chapter discussion of how to prepare for Jesus’s return, and many of the things or events that will precede His coming. This is a challenging passage to tackle for those of us who have known the Lord for a while,….. because we cannot help but see it through the lens of whatever teachings we have been exposed to about the end times. I’m in that boat with many of you, so I trust we will all be humble and prayerful and teachable in these next weeks as we do our best to hear and heed what the Lord wants to say to us through these passages. Why don’t we start off now with a word of prayer.

Much of Matthew ch. 24 is Jesus’s response to the three questions His disciples ask Him about the end times. But because they didn’t ask the most important question re: the end times, Jesus goes on and answers that one as well. And that most important question is: How can I personally prepare for what is to come?! Or What should my response to all of this be? Or How should I live in light of all of this? Continue reading Preparing for Jesus’s Return – Matthew 24:1-14

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May 6, 2012

INTRODUCTION – One of if not the most fiery passages or addresses by Jesus recorded in the Bible. Matthew 23:13-39
What is behind such passion and fiery language and riveting rebukes?

1. Because of the impact a shepherd (spiritual shepherd over people trying to connect with and please God) has on the sheep. These Pharisees and Scribes knew the law and the prophets like the back of their hand. There is no possible way they could not have seen the continual theme of God’s expectations for shepherds and His many rebukes to the shepherds in the Old Testament days.
(Jeremiah 10:21, 12:10, 23:1,2, 50:6; & Ezekiel 34:1-10)

One of the many things Jesus Christ came to correct was the rampant abuse of the sheep by the shepherds of His day. Jesus revealed Himself as the good Shepherd early in His ministry and He made it very clear that there were shepherds that saw themselves merely as hired hands – meaning they were just in it for the paycheck, and had no genuine concern much less willingness to sacrifice for the sheep. (John 10) Continue reading Why Jesus’s Harshest Rebukes Were Necessary – Matt. 23:13-39

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April 22, 2012
INTRODUCTION – As we continue our journey through the gospel of Matthew, we continue to discover how desperate our society’s need is for the kingdom of God to take root – if any real solutions are ever to come for all the problems we are facing.

Nothing ever gets accomplished; no problems ever get solved; no wrongs every get righted without leadership; and particularly without the kingdom style of leadership that Jesus Christ revealed to the world, both through His example and His teaching.

In the kingdom of God everyone is called to lead; though not everyone is called to a position of leadership. Continue reading Kingdom Leadership Principles – Matt. 23:1-12

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Easter Sunrise Service at the Rock in Morro Bay, CA April 8, 2012

This last Tuesday when I met with our noon men’s discipleship group, we wrestled with this question: Does the Bible support the contention that Jesus Christ – the Risen Head of the Church – intends to so powerfully work in and revive and purify His church before He returns – – that cities, states and even nations will be transformed by His power and grace? As you think about this question, please understand that I am not saying everyone will be saved; nor am I saying that there will no longer be rebellion against Christ. I am asking if there is any reason for us to believe biblically that the Holy Spirit might work so powerfully in our coastal region before He returns that everyone who lives and works here would at least know about it, whether they choose to participate in it or not? In other words, might we experience here before our Lord returns, what we read about in the book of Acts, and what we’ve read and heard about in reports of revivals and great awakenings that have happened at various times in human history? Continue reading Do it Again Lord

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April 1, 2012
INTRODUCTION – Jesus has been speaking alot about the kingdom, and specifically about the authority of the King in this new kingdom He came to establish. Much of His teaching in these last chapters has been in response to a growing resistance movement against the King of Kings and His new kingdom – led by the religious leaders of Jesus’s Day.

You see these leaders – the Pharisees and Scribes – had developed a religious system over time that had guaranteed for them a very comfortable lifestyle, and a level of control over the masses. And all of this was being challenged because the kingdom of God was based on truth and righteousness; whereas the religious system these men had built was based on deception and lies and man made rules and traditions.
One thing we know for sure about these guys – they wanted to do away with Jesus as soon as they possibly could pull it off. Getting Him to say some things that could incriminate Him would really help their cause – or so they thought. Continue reading Cutting to the Chase – Matthew 22:15-46

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