September 24, 2018 – Build
“Therefore,” Jesus concludes in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), everyone who hears His words has only two options. Citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven can put His words into practice or, others may choose to not put them into practice. The former are likened to wise builders who began with a firm foundation, ready to withstand the storms of life; the latter, who build their lives upon a foundation of sand, will not survive the storms. Sobering words to underline the critical importance of building our lives upon Jesus’ words as we grow in our relationship with God.
September 16, 2018 – Choosing
With the Golden Rule of Matthew 7:12 Jesus summarizes the Sermon on the Mount and is ready to lead us to the conclusion. We might conclude that Jesus’ words so far have been the good advice of a wise man. With these concluding words, however, He makes it clear that these teachings about the kingdom are critical life or death decisions for our eternal destinies. From the first contrast between the wide and narrow gates Jesus tightens the vice until the distinction is between those believers who will enter in on judgement day and those who will not. These three chapters help us discern between the wide and narrow paths, good and false teachers and their good and bad fruit, and the critical importance of a relationship with Jesus and the peril of those He does not recognize.
September 2, 2018 – Answers
Ask, seek and knock. Sounds simple enough. But how do we explain answers that do not come, finding that never seems to happen and doors that do not open? “God answers all prayers:” we say, “Yes, No and maybe.” Maybe it would be a good idea to check into whether or not we are asking for the right things. Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 might be helpful for learning about asking for the right things. God’s holiness, His kingdom and His will are Jesus’ points of emphasis in His model prayer.
July 1, 2018 – Giving (Part 2 of 2)
A congregation’s giving patterns can say a lot about the congregation. We open by looking briefly at our own contributions since February 2012. When we average month-to-month the patters appear smooth and planful. When we look at the week-to-week patterns since January 2017, however, the patterns are more erratic, swinging from extremes (see the graphs on July 2 Blog Posting). This may indicate that we need to focus more upon being planful and intentional in our giving. This is our focus today.
June 24, 2018 – Giving (Part 1 of 2)
A spirit of generosity exists among the citizens of the kingdom of God. As they strive to become more like their Father in heaven, kingdom people give selflessly just as Jesus did.
June 10, 2018 – Perfect
Loving one’s enemies is most closely aligned with the characteristic of God who gave His only Son on a cross (John 3:16). “Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing,” Jesus would say as they mocked, tortured and murdered God’s Son on a cross (Luke 23:34). Note: the sermon was delivered in two sections that are combined in this recording.
June 3, 2018 – Resistance
For the person striving to grow in Kingdom of God citizenry, the pursuit of doing good with pure and righteous motives can expect resistance. In a culture where a person’s rights are paramount it is good for God’s people to be about the freedom to help others.
May 20, 2018 – Oaths
Jesus calls us to examine the resources we use to verify our truthfulness. Better to be truthful people who live by the ethics of kingdom citizens that are detailed in the Beatitudes.