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    Greetings & Welcome

April 24, 2011

INTRODUCTION – Weeks ago when I began to anticipate preparing for Easter Sunday, I sensed the Lord directing me to focus on the power of God. Since then I have been meditating on the New Testament scriptures that speak to this subject, of which there are many. 101 references in fact – found in 96 different passages, though a handful of those are parallel passages in the gospels, like Jesus’s rebuke to the religious leaders, which is found in both Matthew 22:29 & Mark 12:24 – where He said, “You are mistaken, not understanding the scriptures or the power of God”

One of the many things that sets Jesus Christ apart from all of the other religious leaders known to man is He established a kingdom – that He and the other New Testament writers proclaimed would be characterized by supernatural, not military power. And the reason it is indeed characterized by supernatural power, unlike the empty platitudes that characterize all the other religions – is because the King of this kingdom rose from the dead, and was given all authority over heaven and earth by His father in heaven, with whom He reigns in heaven. Continue reading Easter and the Power of God

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March 27, 2011

INTRODUCTION – One reason the Holy Spirit led four different men (namely, Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) to write an account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ is because – those of us who are seeking to know and follow Him today need all the help we can get. And there’s nothing more helpful and more memorable – than being able to learn from the real life mistakes and experiences those first disciples of Jesus Christ had.

I trust you are here this morning – to become a better, more devoted disciple of Jesus Christ – because – that is exactly what He is after in His pursuit of you. He didn’t die on the cross for you to pay Him lip service every Christmas and Easter. He died on the cross for you – so you could first – get out from under the crushing weight of your sins, and all of the guilt and condemnation that comes with that; and second, so you could be His hands and feet and eyes and mouth, …. and a conduit of His life to a desperately needy society around you – – as you learn to live life – His way. Continue reading Faith vs. Fear – Matthew 14:22-36

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February 26, 2011

INTRODUCTION – Jesus’ two-fold deep disappointment – Rejection in his home town; senseless murder of his cousin, forerunner, and only co-worker – John the Baptist (as contrasted to His disciples who were all a project)

Today’s passage begins with how Jesus responded to the news of John’s murder. Continue reading Meeting Overwhelming Needs – Jesus Style – Matt. 14:13-21

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Feb. 20, 2011

INTRODUCTION – Well we are jumping back into our Matthew series this week. And I want to quickly review for you where we have been, and then proceed on from there.

Most of chapter 13 of Matthew is devoted to 7 parables about the kingdom of God. Jesus spoke in parables to hide these truths from the hard hearted skeptics, and to reveal these truths to those who had ears to hear. These parables talked both about the joys and delights of entering this kingdom, and the horrors of not entering it. In our passage for today, starting with Matthew 13:53 – Jesus had just finished giving all these parables. Let’s pick up the story there and read through 14:12. Continue reading Kingdom Obedience – Matt. 13:53 – 14:12

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Nov. 28, 2010
INTRODUCTION – As we have been working our way through the gospel of Matthew – we keep running into this thing called “the kingdom of God.”
One of the privileges sons and daughters of the King have – is He chooses to reveal the mysteries of His kingdom to us. Jesus said to His disciples in Matt. 13:11 “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven…”

To reveal His kingdom to His disciples and at the same time hide it from the skeptical hard hearted crowds, Jesus used seven parables to communicate crucial truths for learning to see and seek His kingdom until He returns. Continue reading The Kingdom of God – Matthew 13: 31-58

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Nov. 14, 2010

INTRODUCTION – wrap up of last week – – Two distinctives about this chapter:
1. all about the kingdom of God – more than any other chapter.

2. Introduction of parables – seven in all – all having to do with the kingdom of God; all spoken to the crowds; probably brought confusion and perplexion to the them, which is what Jesus at this point determined they deserved since they were increasingly hard hearted, and did not have ears to hear; but to the disciples – especially as they were able to ask Jesus in private to explain – revelation came of their meaning.
One of the major themes in the book of Matthew is the kingdom of God – referenced 55 x’s – more than other gospels. Continue reading Parable of Tares – – Matthew 13:24-30 & 36-43

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Nov. 7, 2010

INTRODUCTION – As we have been walking through the gospel of Matthew together, we have noticed that Jesus’s disciples are slowly but surely upping their commitment and devotion to Him. But at the same time, the Pharisees and Scribes and many Jews are growing in their hostility, hatred and envy of Him, and in their passion to kill Him.
Not unlike today in many ways.

The good news is – I see in our congregation and in the body of Christ in general – a growing passion to know Jesus Christ more intimately and to follow Him more fully. And yet in our society at large, there is a growing disdain for Christ and His followers, primarily because Jesus Christ does not whitewash our sin, nor our need for a spiritual overhaul. Continue reading Parable of the Soils – Matthew 13:1-23

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Oct. 17, 2010
INTRODUCTION – What we are seeing increasingly as we travel through the pages of the gospel of Matthew is a clash between the kingdom of darkness ruled by Satan and the kingdom of God ruled by the risen and very active King Jesus.

What all of us experience every day as well – is the ongoing clash of these two kingdoms. Even if God has reached down and rescued you and delivered you from the kingdom of darkness by His amazing grace; the world, the flesh, and Satan and his demons will continue to seek to deceive and distract and divert and even to destroy you until the day you are with the Lord. Continue reading Signs, Spirits, & Spirituality Matthew 12:38-50

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October 10, 2010

INTRODUCTION – As we have been working our way through the gospel of Matthew – one thing we have learned is that there are two kingdoms on the earth -led and ruled by two unseen rulers; and that all of humanity belongs to either one or the other, whether they are aware of it or not.

The first one is called the kingdom of darkness. This kingdom is ruled by Satan with the aid of his demons, which are fallen angels that chose to follow Satan when he rebelled against God – rather than to continue to bow down and worship Him. Every man, woman, young person and child that does not intentionally enter into the kingdom of God by being born again by the power of the Holy Spirit – is enslaved in this tyrannical kingdom of darkness. Continue reading Judging between God & Satan Matthew 12:22-37

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Sept. 26, 2010
INTRODUCTION – Somewhere between a year and two years ago I think – we started a sermon series in the gospel or book of Matthew . Our ultimate objective in going through this book verse by verse, passage by passage, is we want to know Jesus better, and we want to follow Him more fully.

The longer some of us go in this life, the more we see – – there is no one like this God/man Jesus.
Napoleon – the great French military leader said, “I know men, and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him. “ Continue reading Jesus – Beloved Son & Gentle Servant Matthew 12:15-21

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SEPT. 5, 2010

INTRODUCTION – When Anne, Josh and I traveled to Switzerland a couple of years ago to pick up Caroline we were surprised and inconvenienced by the so called blue laws that they still have in place there.
Blue laws are laws that restrict what a person can do or what a business can sell on the Sabbath day, which usually is Sunday, though In Israel – it would be Saturdays. And I think in Switzerland it starts Saturday evening.

My ideal is to mow my lawn on Saturday, but a couple of times at least I have had to mow it on Sunday because I was too busy with other stuff on Saturday. Each time I’ve caught myself being a little anxious about what someone might say about me mowing it on Sunday since Sunday is thought to be the Sabbath – even by non church going folk.

We had a member of our church leave us in my earlier years here because we refused to accept his contention that the Sabbath is really historically and biblically supposed to be observed on Saturday. Of course the 7th Day Adventists chose their name to reflect their conviction that the Sabbath is Saturday and is extremely important to observe. Continue reading Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of God & the Sabbath Matthew 12:1-14

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Tonight at the dinner table with my wife, mother in law, and daughter I learned that none of them had ever read my blog. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I rarely mention it around the house. And I rarely write in it.

One of the reasons I write with such rarity is because as someone has so aptly said, “History belongs to the intercessors.” If I only have so much time during a day and I haven’t prayed sufficiently, I usually am going to choose to pray rather than write. The writer of the Proverbs said in ch. 10 vs. 19, “Where there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” Another Proverb has also challenged me in this regard, “In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” (14:23) I see prayer or intercession as the highest form of work and the most productive.

Now lest I mislead you, I do not pray as I should, though I pray every day and throughout the day.
Anyways you can learn a lot at the dinner table if you listen in between bites. 🙂

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AUGUST 22, 2010

I. Jesus & Cities – vs. 1, 20-24
A. Didn’t appear to give the disciples specific commands on which cities to go to

B. He didn’t sit back in a chair at a desk while they went out, but He went out as well

C. “Preach” should be proclaim. (cf. 9:35 “Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom…..”) Teaching is explaining things; proclaiming is declaring things such as “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.”
Sometimes the truth must be matter of factly proclaimed. Continue reading JESUS & RESPONSIVENESS Matthew 11:1-30

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August 17, 2010

I’m not sure if it was while running for President or as President that Jimmy Carter decided to give an interview to Playboy Magazine. But I remember that one of the things people got all worked up about (besides the fact that he gave an interview to Playboy) was his admission or confession that he at times struggles with lust. I guess most men in public office do not make such admissions (until perhaps they get caught acting out on it with someone other than their spouse). But I want to ponder today the relationship with lust and gay or same sex marriage. Continue reading Jimmy Carter, Jesus, Lust and Gay Marriage

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August 14, 2010
INTRODUCTION – Two weeks ago Rob talked to you about Jesus’s commissioning of His twelve disciples in Matthew 10:1-15. It’s a pretty cool passage of scripture as we see the authority and power He gave them to preach the good news of the kingdom, heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons etc. Just as He sent them out then, He is sending us out today.

But it is crucial that we understand the world He is sending us into. That’s what the rest of the chapter deals with – and I would like to read that now. Matthew 10:16-42

Woah! I’m not sure this is what I signed up for – – Basically Jesus just told His disciples that they will endure and experience persecution and even death from either the state, the corrupt religious leaders, their own families or possibly all of the above. Continue reading Mission in the Midst of Madness – Matthew 10:16-42

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July 11, 2010
INTRODUCTION – Some foundational convictions as we wade through the gospel of Matthew:
1. Our primary goal is to know Jesus Christ in all of His glory and majesty. Jesus said to the Jews once, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me.” (Jn. 5:39) Now He was talking about the old testament scriptures. How much more do the gospels testify of Him. All scripture points to Him. There is no life or spirituality apart from Him.

2. Our second most important goal is to be made like Him in every way. Jesus said to His disciples early on, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt. 4:19) As we follow Jesus Christ moment by moment and day by day – He gradually but persistently transforms us into His very image and likeness. We become winsome like He was and is. There is no better place to see who Jesus is and what He is like and what it means to follow Him than in the gospels. Continue reading Discipleship and Healing – Matthew 9:1-38

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June 6, 2010
INTRODUCTION – last sermon in Matthew 9 – – we looked at this fallen human tendency of criticizing and slandering and getting offended with Jesus and His followers – rather than seeing how screwed up we ourselves are, and how much we personally need Jesus, and those who truly are following Him to help us get cleaned up and transformed from the inside out.

In the early part of Matthew 9 – we see the scribes murmuring among themselves about Jesus’s audacity to tell someone their sins are forgiven. In vs. 11 we see the Pharisees complaining to Jesus’s disciples about the kind of people Jesus chose to wine and dine with.
In vs. 14 we see John’s disciples complaining to Jesus Himself about why they fast and His disciples do not. At least these disciples came to the source with their complaint, though their complaint was unfortunate because it revealed where their source of security and worth was, and it revealed how quick they were to turn on others when something in those others’ lives challenged something in theirs.
What I want to do in the rest of our time together this morning is explore Jesus’s three fold answer to their question of complaint. Matthew 9:14-17 Continue reading Jesus & Newness Matthew 9:14-17

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Numb. 12:1-9 – – God rebukes Aaron & Miriam for rising up against Moses.

Numb. 21:4-9 – – God judges because the people spoke against Him and Moses.

I Samuel 26:9,11,23 – – David’s attitude towards God’s anointed = King Saul

II Kings 2:23-25 – – Ex. Of consequences of not honoring authority

I Chron. 12:17,33,38 – – Heart attitude of people towards authority/leaders

Esther – God’s blessing on Esther due to her attitude towards authorities (Mordecai, King, etc.)

Psalm 31:18 – – David’s prayer for those who “speak arrogantly against the righteous”

Proverbs 28:25 – – The kind of person that stirs up strife (= arrogant)

Matt. 24:9-12; II Tim. 3:1-5; II Peter 2:1-22; Jude 8-16 – – how many people will be in the last days (i.e. rebellious, arrogant, hateful..etc.)

Romans 13:1-3 – – Attitude towards governing authorities

Romans 16:17,18 – – What to do with people who reject authority

I Cor. 5:11 – – How to relate to “so called brothers” in the church who are “revilers”, etc.

II Cor. 12:20 – – The kind of things Paul hoped would not be found in the church

Gal. 6:1-3 – – How the mature should restore those in sin

I Thess. 4:1-8 – – We are to teach sexual purity and realize that anyone who rejects this teaching rejects God Himself.

II Thess. 3:6,14, 15 – – How to deal with lazy irresponsible people in the church

I Tim. 1:18-20; II Tim. 2:16-18, 3:8,9; 4:10a, 14,15; III John 9-11; – – Examples of rebellious, factious people who were named in N.T. epistles/letters

I Tim. 5:17, 19 – – How to treat elders

Titus 2:15 – – How to exercise authority and deal with those who reject/resist it

Titus 3:1,2 – – How to respond to authorities and even to all men

Titus 3:9-11 – – How to deal with a factious man in the church

Hebrews 13:17 – – How to treat/respond to leaders/authorities in the church

I Peter 2:13, 14 – – How to treat/respond to people in authority

I Peter 5:5 – – How young men should respond to their elders and how all of us should relate to one another (i.e. in humility)

II Peter 2:9,10 – – God will rescue the godly and judge/punish the rebellious

Jude 16, 19 – – Description of apostate or rebellious folk in the church in the last days

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INTRODUCTION – I believe it was about 12 and a half years ago when Anne and I got a phone call from our real estate agent telling us that he believed he had found the house for us. We had lived in a very nice two story rental home on the last block of 13th street near the Elfin forest for our first five years here in Los Osos. Our kids had made good friends on the block; we had at least two block parties a year with our neighbors, and hardly anything needed fixed on this house.

Because the house on 15th street was in the process of being foreclosed, we couldn’t walk through it; but Anne and I took several walks by it – scoping it out and praying about the possibilities. When we finally got a chance to walk through it, my wife immediately knew this was the one for us. This was the answer to years of prayers amidst some tears – as by that time we had been married 18 years and never owned a home – due to our having to get me through graduate school, and then being missionaries in Hong Kong for four years. The only problem was: this house was a disaster inside and out. When Caroline first saw it she cried in disbelief that we would dare consider leaving a house – that compared to this one was in immaculate condition. I mean this house was basically a garbage dump – inside and out. Today though – it is a testament to the transformation that vision can bring about in a much abused and dilapidated home. Continue reading Resurrecting our Faith and Calling Romans 4:13-25

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March 21, 2010
Well we are racing through the book of Matthew at lightning speed, …. O.K. I guess its not good to start out a sermon with an out and out lie. We are going through the book of Matthew at a snail’s pace – hoping to finish it before the New Heavens and the New Earth replace this groaning place called the earth.

But we are making progress, and we are beginning to note some trends. And one of them is that the average person in Jesus’s day was powerfully drawn to Him and very responsive to His ministry. But the governmental leaders and especially the religious leaders of His day – – by and large were increasingly offended by Him, and were thus more and more hostile towards Him.

In some respects this seems to be the case as well today. But my concern today is not those who are unresponsive to Jesus. My concern is those that are. And more importantly – my concern is whether we are the kind of people that Jesus Christ can use – to bring the responsive ones into a relationship with Himself. Continue reading MERCY OVER JUDGMENT – Matthew 9:9-13

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March 7, 2010
Parallel Passages: Mark 2:3-12; Luke 5:18-26
INTRODUCTION – – Well we are on day 19 of the 40 day “Seek God for the City” devotional. I hope this little tool has been helpful to strengthen and expand your vision of our Lord and Savior – – and especially His heart for our community.

Why the risen Christ – the creator of the Universe – who has over six billion people to deal with – – would give any special attention to people in our Coastal Region – is beyond me. But the fact is – – He loves and cares as much about the people in Los Osos, Morro Bay and Cayucos as He does about anybody else – anywhere else in the world. And He is ready today to demonstrate that through His favorite instrument – the church. We are not only His favorite instrument – – we are His only instrument – except for His angels – who often are given orders from God in response to our prayers. And if you read Acts 12 this morning – as part of your daily reading the Bible through in a year – New Testament reading – – you saw that truth demonstrated when the church fervently prayed for Peter as he was in prison, and then God sent an angel to get him out. Continue reading Faith and Compassion in Action – Matthew 9:1-8

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INTRODUCTION – refer back to early January sermon where I went through the first five months of the year, and asked prayer for matthew series and mentioned my early look at matt 8:28-34 & then encounter with young man

This morning we are going to look at one of the more unusual stories in the New Testament – – trusting that the Holy Spirit will help us not get distracted with some of the controversies or peculiarities; but instead that He will give us His heart for the demonically oppressed people around us.

It is my contention this morning that in every city and in every age there have been and there will be people who have been severely tormented and oppressed by demons. Turn with me if you would to Matthew 8:28 as we seek to learn from an incident Jesus had with two such people. Continue reading Breakthrough, Advance and Demonized People – Matt. 8:28-34

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December 13, 2009

INTRODUCTION – Our church exists to help each of you, and any and every other person we can influence in any way to make their highest priority and passion in life – – to know and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the risen, exalted Savior of the World. He is the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He is the one that even people who do not know Him are singing about in these days leading up to Christmas – – because deep down everyone knows that only He can “free His own from Satan’s tyranny; and save them from the depths of hell and give them victory o’er the grave” as O Come O Come Emmanuel so passionately states.

This Savior has an agenda; a set of purposes and plans. He is on the move. There are things in His heart and mind for every person, family, neighborhood and city on the earth today. And we have the privilege and responsibility to follow Him, and be His instruments to see His plans and purposes fulfilled on the earth.

Many of you have been aggressively following Him for some time now. Some of you may be fairly new to this pursuit. Some of you might be still entertaining the idea. One thing all of you need to know is that one of His great purposes and passions for you – is that you might be a person of great faith in Him. And that your faith might free you to live above your circumstances, and thus be His instrument in this sin wracked world – where so many people have become depressed and even hopeless because of their circumstances. Continue reading Faith in the Storms of Life Matthew 8:23-27

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November 15, 2009

INTRODUCTION – One of the biggest debates in the church world over the last 15 years or so revolves around the emergence of the “seeker friendly” philosophy of doing church. This philosophy proposes that we should create an atmosphere in the way we run our worship services so that seekers can come and be comfortable and gradually warm up to the demands of Jesus. There is some truth and strengths to this movement. It is not my purpose this morning to diss them. But I do want to bring your attention to a consistent pattern in the way Jesus Himself dealt with – – and I dare say – – continues to deal with would be followers.

My sense after years of studying Jesus’s way with men is – If you were Jesus’s pr man, and you held to the seeker friendly philosophy, you would have died a thousands deaths as you observed Him respond to people’s responses.

Looking at Matthew chapter 8 – Jesus has just healed a leper, a centurion’s slave from afar, Peter’s mother in law, and a host of others – many who were demon possessed vs. 16 tells us.
Momentum is happening again. Even the Scribes – the religious leaders of that day – are taking notice. And one of them comes up to Jesus (in vs. 19) , takes Him aside, puts his arm around Jesus’s shoulders, and says, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” Continue reading Discipleship & Obedience Matthew 8:18-22

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October 2009

INTRODUCTION – The healthcare debate is dominating the news these days – especially the public option. I want to talk to you this morning about another option that is rarely if ever discussed on the news. And that is the kingdom of God option.

“Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.” Matt. 3:2 – John the Baptist

“Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.” Matt. 4:17 – Jesus Christ

“Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.” Matt. 4:23 Continue reading Healthcare According to Jesus – Matthew 8:1-17

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