Sermons on Spiritual Growth

Studies in Revelation: Standing Against Compromise

The temptation to assimilate to one’s culture has always been strong, hasn’t it? God’s most frequent warning to Israel as they approached Canaan was for them to take drastic measures to avoid embracing the idol worship of the inhabitants of the land (a warning they largely ignored). And the church is no different. So many times over the years the church has looked more like its surrounding culture than it’s been what God called it to be: “a chosen race, a…

Studies in Revelation: Faithful Unto Death

I’ve often wondered what it would say if we had the privilege of reading a letter that Paul, John, or Peter wrote to our congregation. Even more interesting, though, would be reading a letter from Jesus. It would likely include elements of the letters that he sent to seven churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) near the end of the first century, and recorded in the second and third chapters of Revelation. Probably, what these churches were doing poorly and what…

Faith Beyond Borders

You’re probably aware of the animosity the Jews had for their Roman occupiers, so something in this passage immediately jumps out. This centurion–a daily visual reminder of Rome’s presence–has the kind of relationship with the Jews that several Jewish elders willingly went to Jesus to plead on his behalf. “He is worthy,” they said, which is incredible. Worthy? Really? A Roman centurion? They were obviously impressed with him, and so was Jesus. Luke tells us that “Jesus . . .…

“I Am With You”: God’s Unwavering Presence

I think most of us probably engage in some sort of reflection as we end one year and start another. There’s the inevitable “I can’t believe another year has passed” thought, as well as the sometimes fretful or perhaps hopeful anticipation of flipping the calendar to another year. This year I’ll lose the weight and keep it off. This year I’ll start an exercise program that I’ll stick to. This year I’ll get my finances in order. This year I’ll…