May 31, 2009

Why on a Foggy cool day, when we could be home watching basketball, or taking a nap, are we going to gather at the inlet beach in Morro Bay and baptize a couple of our members? What if we get seaweed in our hair? What if a crab bites our foot? What if someone who knows me from school or work drives by and sees me? Isn’t this kind of an outdated practice? Is getting baptized really that important? Continue reading Baptism – Why Mess with It?

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April 19, 2009
INTRODUCTION – Big picture of Matthew?
“Nothing I can do about it.”
“It is what it is.”
“God is going to do what God is going to do.”
“I wish I knew what God’s will is.”

I. God has chosen to fulfill His will on the earth through the prayers of his People. God’s will being done on the earth is contingent upon the prayers of the people of God. It is not a given. Matt. 6:10 This is not a passive prayer of resignation. But an offensive aggressive prayer of submission and agreement with God’s purposes. It is our primary way to taste a little bit of heaven here on earth before we enter heaven to be forever with our Lord. But it will only be experienced by those who have come to a place where they truly only desire His will; and who realize how desperately our society needs God’s will to be made known and manifested. Continue reading “Thy Will Be Done” – Matthew 6:10

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1. Have any of you ever disobeyed your parents? Have any of you ever done this a number of times, and knew deep down what you were doing was wrong, and wished you could change?

2. Have any of you ever hurt your brother or sister? If you are a big sister or a big brother, have you ever done things or said things to your little brother or little sister that you know were wrong and that made them sad? Have you ever wished you could be more loving and kind and unselfish towards them; and wondered why you sometimes are so mean and selfish? Continue reading Transformation through Resurrection – Romans 12:2

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April 5, 2009
INTRODUCTION – We have been methodically working our way through the gospel of Matthew in our pursuit to be disciples of Jesus Christ, and to be used by Him to help others become disciples of Jesus Christ – – both objectives being crucial to pursue – if we are serious about truly being “wholly His”, and about bringing about tangible change in our society.

For the last few weeks – we have been exploring the depths of the so called Lord’s prayer or model prayer – – a prayer that resulted from an earnest request from Jesus’s disciples “Lord teach us to pray.” Luke records the request in chapter 11 of his gospel.

Matthew gives us the most detailed answer to the question in Matthew ch. 6. If you haven’t already turned there, now might be a good time – we will be focusing on vs. 10 Continue reading Thy Kingdom Come – Matt. 6:10

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March 22, 2009

INTRODUCTION – Review of last week – big picture – parallel passage = Luke 11:1
Our Father, which art in heaven

Confession – – “Hallowed Be Thy Name” has not been my most favorite part of the Lord’s Prayer or the Model or Disciple’s prayer. I’ve said it a thousand times in various scenarios, but not until this week did it finally hit me that this is a request, not a statement. And not until this week did I ever do some digging as to what is behind this request.

“Hallowed” not used whatsoever in society. No connection to Halloween. Only used twice in the Bible – this passage and the parallel passage in Luke.

In “The New Merriam-Webster Dictionary” – – minimal discussion. “hallow” as a verb means to “consecrate or revere”. Hallowed is an adjective. Continue reading Hallowed Be Your Name – Matt. 6:9

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March 15, 2009
INTRODUCTION – The Big Picture – Jesus is out to build a kingdom people and a kingdom culture that is characterized by His righteousness – – or that reflects His very nature in everything it does and says. Early on He promised that those who learn to hunger and thirst for this righteousness will experience a level of satisfaction and fulfillment in life that few attain to. He warned later on in chapter 5 that if our righteousness does not exceed that of the top religious leaders of Jesus’s day – the Pharisees and Scribes – we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Then He spoke at the beginning of chapter 6 of the grave danger of practicing one’s righteousness to be noticed by men – – like the Pharisees and scribes did.

And to help us see where we easily can fall into this, He begins to discuss various spiritual disciplines – all of which are crucial for us to experience and help expand His kingdom – but also all of which can be nullified by our wrong motives. Continue reading The Secret to Effective Praying – Prayer 101 – Matthew 6:6-9

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February 15, 2009

INTRODUCTION – In the goodness and sovereignty of God, He has ordained that every one of you should live in the United States of America. Most of you were born here. A few of you emigrated here.

Most of us would say – compared to the other nations of the earth – we are citizens of a great nation. And yet over the last 50 years, we’ve seen much of our greatness tarnished – – and one must wonder if we will ever be able to recover that greatness again. Continue reading Giving & Praying Righteously – Matthew 6:1-6

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February 08, 09

INTRODUCTION – One of the primary objectives of the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ was to lay the foundations for a people to be formed, who would be an ever burning light in the ever growing darkness of the world they live in. Before Jesus Christ ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, He sought to bring together a group of people who would be His arms, His legs, His mouth-piece, His ears and eyes, His heart – His very life to a lost and dying world.
For this people to come together in unity and love, and remain in relationship with God and one another – and to be the kind of vessel that can effectively carry the very life of Christ to a needy world – they had to learn to walk in righteousness.

And for Jesus to bring that about in them, He first had to expose the unrighteousness or lack of internal righteousness of the religious leaders of His day – the Pharisees and Scribes. Only then could He reveal or demonstrate what true internal righteousness looks like. Continue reading Responding Righteously to the Unrighteous – Matthew 5:38-48

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Jan. 25, 09
INTRODUCTION – I know some of you are deeply concerned about some of the decisions President Obama has made in the first three days of his first week as our President. I have sought to pray for him every day since he was elected, and have already written him two letters. But for you and I to be of any use to him and to our country, we need to make our priority to become more like Jesus, and to truly be “wholly His”. You and I cannot control President Obama’s decisions. We CAN control our own.

When Jesus Christ was building His church from ground zero, He spent a lot of time early on helping His disciples catch this truth. Was He concerned about the unrighteous policies and rule of King Herod and other political leaders in His day? You bet He was. But He knew only disciples change the world. And He knew one of the best ways to make disciples was to create a kingdom culture or a standard of ethics and values that would radically set apart His people from those of the world – – and that would give them moral and spiritual authority to expose the darkness and proclaim the truth. Continue reading Vows, Oaths & Declarations in the Kingdom of God – Matt. 5:33-37

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July 14, 2008

INTRODUCTION – DOES anyone know where in the Bible it says, “It’s a Man’s World”?? I’ll give you a clue. It is right next to the passage that says “a woman’s place is in the kitchen!”. ….. In other words, neither phrase is in the Bible. But did you know that the culture and society into which Jesus Christ was born and raised, and eventually started His ministry was founded on that underlying attitude?

Now what would you do, if you knew you had 3 and half years to build a movement that would establish the kingdom of God on the earth, – a kingdom in which men and women are equal in value and importance, and you knew you were to primarily invest in 12 men to lead that movement – – 12 men who were as slimed as anyone by that underlying attitude?? Continue reading Jesus and Divorce – Matthew 5:31,32

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July 6, 2008

INTRODUCTION – Some 2,000 plus years ago a King was born to a very non royal couple. His name was Jesus Christ – and when after 30 years of relative obscurity, He began to establish His kingdom – one of the first things He said about His kingship and His kingdom is that it would be characterized by “setting the captives free.”

Luke in his account of Jesus’s life and ministry says in chapter four vs. 16 that Jesus entered the synagogue and began to read a passage from Isaiah that declared what the Messiah’s purpose would be. It is actually the Messiah speaking when He says through the pen of Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He (God the Father) anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind. To set free those who are oppressed… to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” Continue reading Kingdom Righteousness = Sexual Purity – – Matthew 5:27-30

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June 29, 2008

INTRODUCTION – Does anyone know what the ten commandments are?
1. You shall have no other gods before Me.” Vs. 3
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol…” vs. 4
3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain..” vs. 7
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Vs. 8
5. Honor your father and your mother…” vs. 9
6. You shall not murder. Vs. 13
7. You shall not commit adultery. Vs. 14
8. You shall not steal.” Vs. 15
9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” Vs. 16
10. You shall not covet.” Vs. 17 Continue reading “You Shall Not Murder” – Matthew 5:21-26 & Ex. 20:13

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June 22, 2008

INTRODUCTION – As we jump back into our series in the gospel of Matthew, keeping our theme “Truly great in 2008” in view, I want to quickly review where we have been, so we have context for where we are going.
Jesus Christ – knowing that His time on earth is short, and knowing that His disciples must carry on His mission upon His departure, and knowing that the forces of hell will come against them, is seeking to build a culture of kingdom character and purpose that will enable them to not only enter into and experience all the blessings of His kingdom, but also to expand it.. That’s what we see in the first 11 vs. of ch. 5 – typically called the Beattitudes, followed by a few verses on the role His disciples play in the world as salt and light.

Our last discussion in this series revolved around the commandments of God or the whole topic of obedience to the word and will of God. (read Matt. 5:17-19) This is one of many passages in the gospels where Jesus makes very clear how crucial every word of God is for us to be able to know and follow Him.
We determined that those who are great in the kingdom of God are those who have learned to become obedience trainers. They not only seek to obey the Lord themselves, but they also try to help others do the same. Continue reading The Battle for Righteousness Matthew 5:20-26

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May 25, 2008
INTRODUCTION – Four State Supreme Court justices shocked the world last week when they decided in their infinite wisdom that homosexual marriages are just as legally justified as heterosexual ones, and thus should be treated as such in CA.

I have observed and read a variety of responses to this judicial decision. Homosexuals and lesbians wanting to be married to one another and wanting to be recognized by the government as such of course are elated. Various leaders of Christian activist groups are outraged, and are vowing to fight this to the end.

While I will be the first to vote for a marriage amendment to our state constitution that will override this judicial decision, I do not think that that – in and of itself will solve the ever deepening problem we are witnessing in our society. I submit to you this morning that the primary reason marriage is in such trouble in our society is because married believers have either not understood the original intended purpose and importance of marriage, and/or have been cavalier or complacent in pursuing that purpose and priority in their own marriages. And because we have either not understood God’s original intended purpose and plan, or we have not been passionate about pursuing that purpose for our own marriages, we have lacked the conviction, authority and passion necessary to help reproduce it in other’s marriages. Continue reading Marriage Revisited

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Greatness through Keeping & Teaching
Matthew 5:17-20
INTRODUCTION – review of our theme & Matthew series
Ch. 5 Vs. 13-16 tells us two things that was true of the disciples and followers of Jesus then, and is true of many of us today.

1. we followers or disciples of Jesus have an amazing calling and strategic role in the plans and purposes of God on the earth. (e.g. salt and light)

2. we tend to not rise to our calling; we tend to think less of our importance than we should. We tend to minimize our role and contribution. (e.g. tasteless salt; and hidden light)

So the question we ought to be asking after reading this passage: How can I achieve the full potential of my calling to be salt and light in the earth?? How can I achieve the kingdom greatness Jesus has called me to? 2 pronged answer from the following passage. (read Matt. 5:17-20) Continue reading Pursuing Kingdom Greatness – Part V

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April 6, 2008

INTRODUCTION – review of our theme & Matthew series
Ch. 5 Vs. 13-16 tells us two things that was true of the disciples and followers of Jesus then, and is true of many of us today.

1. we followers or disciples of Jesus have an amazing calling and strategic role in the plans and purposes of God on the earth. (e.g. salt and light)

2. we tend to not rise to our calling; we tend to think less of our importance than we should. We tend to minimize our role and contribution. (e.g. tasteless salt; and hidden light)

So the question we ought to be asking after reading this passage: How can I achieve the full potential of my calling to be salt and light in the earth?? How can I achieve the kingdom greatness Jesus has called me to? 2 pronged answer from the following passage. Continue reading Greatness through Keeping & Teaching – Matthew 5:17-20

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March 9, 2008
INTRODUCTION – Our theme and our call to greatness – – the Holy Spirit’s insistence that we doggedly pursue it

There were a lot of great men and women in the old testament era; but perhaps none greater than King David

Acts 13:22 “…He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.”

“David became greater and greater…” II Sam. 5:10 & I Chron. 11:9

Reasons why David was able to achieve such greatness. Continue reading Learning from David’s Greatness

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March 2nd, 2008 – Clarifying Kingdom Greatness

I. Getting Clear on Our Definitions/Terms
A. The kingdom greatness that Jesus Christ calls each of His disciples to is basically being just like Him in our attitudes, character, responses, and deeds. It is the quality of life that produces fruitfulness and increase in everything we touch. It knows no limitations or obstacles because it is actually the very life of Christ being expressed through our mortal bodies. Kingdom greatness starts with our own hidden life, and then begins to affect our home life, our work life, our church life, and our witness in the world. Kingdom greatness always results in transformation, not just words. It is bathed in love. And its ultimate result is God being glorified and exalted. The more we see God in all His greatness, the more we will want to live lives that reflect such greatness. Continue reading Pursuing Kingdom Greatness – Part III

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February 17, 2008

INTRODUCTION – Two weeks ago – I finally got my pulpit back ☺ and we began to explore our theme for this year, which I believe God sovereignly gave us – and that theme is “Truly great in 2008”.

Since God began to reveal this theme to us back on the 6th of January in our corporate prayer meeting, I’ve been trying to discern why He gave this particular theme to us at this time? What are His purposes and intentions for us this year, and how does this theme fit in? Why greatness?

Two weeks ago – I think the first big clue we got was – the greatness of God is a consistent theme throughout scripture. “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised.” The psalmist declared in Psalm 48:1. God is great; He has revealed His greatness to us; He has manifested it in His creation; and He wants to manifest it through His people – the church. When you delve into scripture and see how often God’s greatness is declared or proclaimed, it becomes real obvious that His people ought to be a reflection of that greatness. If we are to be a living epistle, read by all men, as the apostle Paul declared he was, and by implication we are, we dare not wallow in smallness and mediocrity and unbelief. Continue reading Pursuing Kingdom Greatness – Part II

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Truly Great in 2008 –

INTRODUCTION – Reality of world crisis (Kenya, Iraq, ), national crisis (foreclosures, medical insurance, debt, apathy re: politics), state crisis (financial bust, immigration), los osos crisis,
Small church crisis (shortage of volunteers, big bills, few people to pay, small thinking); personal/family crisis;

In the lyrics of one of Leland’s great songs, “This is an emergency.”

J.F.K.’s quote – “Great crises produce great men and great deeds of courage.”

Biblically – “Great crises cause the people of God to get re-focused on our great God, and out of that focus comes great kingdom solutions.” Continue reading Pursuing Kingdom Greatness – Part I

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October 28, 2007

INTRODUCTION – Last week as we finished up our series on the Beatitudes – at one point I tried to sum up in a sentence or two each – what they all meant, and how they fit together. I wonder if any of you listening to that felt a little bit overwhelmed at trying to develop all of those kingdom characteristics?? For sure, all of those characteristics are characteristics that we have to pursue and strive to grow in. They do not just naturally develop.

Well in one sense that is not true of our next paragraph = vs. 13-16. Let’s read it together, and then I will explain what I mean. Continue reading Implications of Being Salt & Light – Matthew 5:13-16

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October 21, 2007
There are many things that distinguish and set apart the Lord Jesus Christ from all of the other renowned religious leaders that have walked this earth. For instance:

Jesus Christ only led His effort for 3 & ½ years. For the first 30 years of His life, He basically hid; He did not give a speech, form an organization, write an essay or letter to the editor, or develop a leadership team in those years – even though He knew His time on the earth was short. Muhammed, Ghandi and the rest gave most of their adult years to their efforts.

Jesus Christ rose from the dead, appeared on the earth for 40 days after that to over 500 different credible, known people, and then ascended in front of many of them to heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. Muhammed, Ghandi and the rest are still in the dirt – what’s left of them. Continue reading “Blessed are the Persecuted” – Matthew 5:10-12

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September 23, 2007

INTRODUCTION – Suppose a certain father in Los Osos has two sons and two daughters. One of the sons and one of the daughters have determined that they do not need a father to tell them what they can do, and cannot do, nor do they need the hassle of having to share bedrooms, bathrooms and possessions with siblings. So as soon as they were able – the son at age 17, the daughter at age 18 – they flew the coop, and moved out with people they enjoyed hanging out with. This was very grievous to the father; but there was little he could do about it.

His other two children – a 19 year old son and a 15 year old daughter – loved their father, loved their family, and couldn’t understand why their brother and sister would not feel the same. Every Friday night when the father made reservations at the local steakhouse for dinner for his family – his 19 yr. old son and 15 yr. old daughter sat on the front porch waiting for their dad to come out and throw them all in the family van. Every Saturday morning, when the Father finished up his project list, the 19 yr. old son & 15 yr. old daughter were there waiting for their instructions.

Now the father loved his four children equally. He parented each of them with the same principles and values. And he longed to enjoy their fellowship equally. But which children do you think were actually able to experience the warmth of his fellowship and love? Continue reading Producing Peacemakers II – Matt. 5:9

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September 16, 2007

INTRODUCTION – Everything negative and destructive in our society can be traced back to a lack of the knowledge of God. It is the lack of a true knowledge of the one true God that is at the root of every societal ill we face today.

If there is any aspect or attribute of God that we need to know in our day in this town, in this region, in this state, in this fractured nation, and indeed in our world it is that God is a God of peace. Five times in the New Testament He is proclaimed as the God of peace, such as in Rom. 15:33, where the apostle Paul encourages the church in Rome with this blessing, “Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.” Jesus Christ is referred to in scripture as the Prince of Peace and as the Lord of Peace.

When in chapter 14 of the book of Romans, Paul describes what the kingdom of God is like – when and wherever it is manifested on the earth, that is – whenever and wherever His kingship and Lordship is recognized and submitted to – he states that it will be characterized by righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Continue reading Producing Peacemakers – Matt. 5:9

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“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8

INTRODUCTION – Last week we began our discussion of this verse by first of all admitting that most of us are greatly sobered by just reading it. Then I read a couple of quotes from two of my favorite commentators on the Sermon on the Mount, both of whom admitted they too felt this emotion upon first glance at this kingdom principle.

We then spent the rest of our time talking about two things. First, how desperate our need is to see God. And second, what happens when we do see God – – noting that nothing we will ever see or experience in this life will impact us like seeing God does.

Perhaps one of the loudest megaphone messages we get from the scriptures is that much of our pain, torment, fear, anger, bitterness, confusion, and paralysis of faith comes from the lack or neglect of seeing God. One of these days I am going to do a search with my concordance of how many times God rebukes His people for not seeing or hearing Him when He came or spoke. One of those is found in Isa. 50:2 where God says to His complaining, blaming, and thus downtrodden people, “Why was there no man when I came? When I called why was there none to answer?” Continue reading Seeing God – Part II – Matthew 5:8

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