Upcoming Sermon Series

In a recent church survey, we asked if there were any particular sermon topics people would be interested in hearing. We received back quite a few topics that Pastor Mike is planning to use to finish out 2018 once we wrap up our journey through Exodus at the end of this month.

Unfortunately, there’s not enough time for every idea (though they may be visited further in the future). Below are the series and sermons planned from August through December.

August: The Art of Prayer and Fasting
08.05 “Learning to Pray” (Luke 11:1-13)
08.12 “The Art of Praying Well” (Romans 8:26-30)
08.19 “Learning to Fast” (Isaiah 58)
08.26 “The Art of Fasting Well” (Matthew 6:1, 16-18)

the art of prayer and fasting (sermon series)

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/lights-water-blur-rain-21492/

September 2: TBD

September: God and Money (personal finance)
09.09 “Stay Focused” (1 Timothy 6:6-10, Matthew 6:24)
09.16 “Plan Well” (Proverbs 6:6-8, 13:6, 21:20)
09.23 “Live Within Your Means” (Romans 13:8, Proverbs 22:7, Psalm 37:21)
09.30 “Give Generously” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

God and Money (sermon series)

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/working-business-money-coins-34204/

October: Finding Light in the Darkness (hope in the face of despair)
10.07 “The Greatest Light” (Genesis 3, John 1)
10.14 “The Light of Hope: Battling Depression and Fatigue” (1 Kings 19)
10.21 “The Light of Peace: Battling Anxiety” (Matthew 6:25-34)
10.28 “Shining the Light: Supporting Others in Their Dark Times” (Romans 12:9-15)

finding light in the darkness (sermon series)

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/light-52910/

November – December: The Life of… (biblical character studies)
11.04 “The Life of Mary”
11.11 “The Life of David”
11.18 “The Life of Hannah”
11.25 “The Life of Daniel”
12.02 “The Life of Tabitha”
12.09 “The Life of Barnabas”

the life of 00

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/seven-photo-of-person-wallmount-692901/

Sunday 06.04.17 (wealth and the glory of God)

This Sunday we’ll take a look at Ecclesiastes 5:8-6:12 on the topic of wealth and the glory of God. Then on Sunday night we’ll continue our study on God’s attributes by considering God’s sovereignty. We hope to see you there!

If you’ve missed a Sunday in our Ecclesiastes series, you can catch up on the four most recent sermons on our sermon page.

Sunday Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm Attributes of God study in the church library

Sermon Notes
Wealth and the Glory of God ~ Ecclesiastes 5:8-6:12

  • Seek the good of those under your influence (5:8-9)
    • God wants us to love others the way that he loves us through Christ–including what we do with our wealth and resources
  • Be satisfied with what God provides (5:10-12)
    • A love for God and thankfulness for his provisions, centered on Jesus, leads to satisfaction
  • Make wise investments (5:13-17)
    • We make wise earthly investments caring for future generations, and wise heavenly investments showing others the love of God through Christ
  • Enjoy the fruits of your labor (5:18-6:6)
    • Set your hope on God, seek to do abundant good to others, be generous, and enjoy the rest
  • Trust God with the future and don’t be consumed with worry (6:7-12)
    • Whether we’re rich or poor, wise or foolish, we cannot control the future, but we have a God who does for his glory and our good

Sunday 07.31.16 (learning contentment)

This Sunday we’ll take a look at what Paul taught about wealth and riches in 1 Timothy 6. It’s when we find contentment with what we have in Christ that we are then able to use our wealth wisely. Then on Sunday night, we are back to our normal weekly schedule and will continue our I Will study. Hope to see you there!

@945 Small Group / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm I Will study in church library–Chapter 4, “I Will Serve”

Sermon Notes
Learning Contentment ~ 1 Timothy 6:6-19

  • Learn to be content, and not jealous or greedy, by pursuing God and godly character (6:6-16)
    • True gain comes through godliness with contentment
    • Contentment realizes that everything good we have is all because of the grace of God in Jesus
    • If we make money our great pursuit, then it will lead to our ruin
  • Learn to enjoy what you have while also being generous to others (6:17-19)
    • Wealth can be useful but is always temporary, so our hope must be in Someone more sure
    • God gives wealth for two purposes: to enjoy and to share, in proper balance

When Money Sprouts Wings (a meditation)

Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle. ~ Proverbs 23:4-5

We all know the feeling: you work hard and put in long hours to earn that latest paycheck. You have plans you want to make, but first you have to take care of some bills, then you have to buy food, then you need gas for the car, then you child comes home sick and you have to take her to the doctor, then your car breaks down, then…then…then…

And suddenly that money is gone.

We save what we can but wonder if the interest rate is really worth it. We invest in stocks, one day its up and the next day its way down. The market is fickle and the cash in our wallets or bank accounts is fleeting. Then we wake up the next morning, go back to work and start the cycle again.

True, life does occasionally give us a break from this cycle. Sometimes this happens for certain people more than others it seems. Then come the occasions where we stretch that last dollar as thin as we can just to make ends meet until the next pay day.

This is why the Bible again and again warns us not to put our hope in money. The proverb above tells us how we should prioritize wealth: don’t make it an end, don’t let it become an idol.

Yes, we need money to survive—it’s the normal means through which God provides for food, clothes, and shelter, the basics of life. If we have more than we need and are able to save or able to buy that something special, then great. If not, then don’t work yourself to the bone trying to make more.

After all, money sprouts wings yet there are things that are more eternally significant.

This is why Jesus said, “Don’t lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20). Later (in Matthew 22), Jesus said the two greatest commandments are to love God and love others. So what, then, is the eternal investment? Relationships.

Of all the temporary things we invest our lives in, God is the great Eternal One—the one who was, who is, and who is to come. Though we come into being at a point in time, unlike God we have a beginning, God has made us to never have an end. Death isn’t the end but a transition either in Christ to heaven and the coming new earth, or without Christ to hell. Either way we will always be.

We must learn to balance the time we devote to gaining wealth, realizing that it is fleeting and unstable. And in doing so, we must prioritize relationships. If your pursuit of money gets in the way of time with God, with church, with family, and with friends, and it gets in the way of being able to invest the gospel in those without Jesus, then you need to consider: Is this worth it? Weighed in the balance of eternity, the answer will be no. So change what you need to change, remembering that money will spout wings but our existence will be forever.

This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.

proverbs 23_4-5

Ask Not How This Benefits You (a meditation on true wealth among God’s people)

James minced no words. In the second chapter of his short letter he cut straight to the heart of the way we treat others. The temptation is to look at potential relationships in terms of benefit as opposed to personhood. Rather than considering the heart as God considers (1 Samuel 16:7) we look at the exterior. In James’ example between rich and poor, the temptation is to incline ourselves towards the rich because on the surface they seem to have more to offer.

So James gave the order: stop showing partiality.

If a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? ~ James 2:2-4 (ESV)

As followers of Jesus we are to be like our Savior-King. He’s the one who made himself weak, got his hands dirty, and suffered death in order to serve the spiritually poor and needy trapped in rebellion. As creator and therefore owner of everything, you don’t get any richer than God. Yet Jesus set aside his richness in order to become poor for our sake. Instead of looking at us and asking what he could gain from us (which is truly nothing as we have nothing to offer), Jesus concerned himself about how he could provide gain for us.

Instead of being people who rub elbows with the rich and powerful in order to benefit, we are to see the value of the person as a person. All people are created in the image of God, so all are therefore worthy of honor and respect from us (1 Peter 2:17). Some people operate under the mantra, “If you want me to respect you then you have to respect me.” Followers of Jesus are to say, “I will honor and respect you simply because you are a fellow human being regardless of if you respect or act respectably.”

A step beyond this, we are to understand that the poorest follower of Jesus is spiritually rich because they belong to the King. James wrote, “My dear brothers and sisters, listen: God has picked the poor of this world to become unfathomably rich in faith and ultimately to inherit the Kingdom” (2:5, the Voice).

Though in our sin we are helpless rebels who have spurned the goodness of God, in his grace we become sons and daughters of the King who will inherit the world with Jesus. If the poorest person on earth has Jesus, then he or she is far richer than all the wealth of the world combined. If the richest person on earth is without Jesus, then he or she has no lasting treasure and will lose everything when they die.

Sometimes the temptation of a church is to look at the bottom line. How much money do we need to pay salaries and bills, to support mission projects, to have fellowship meals, etc.? Staring at the bottom line makes us yearn for more money to do the things we want to do. Longing for this money makes us favor the rich who can give it.

Yet the eternally rich poor person has more to offer for the sake of the gospel and the spiritual health of a church. We don’t need the fanciest buildings, the newest carpet, or the softest chairs and pews. We do need people who understand that Jesus is everything and without him we are eternally lost.

So instead of looking at people for what they have to offer us materially, we should see them for who they are spiritually. Better a poor widow who can only offer two pennies but loves Jesus than a rich businessman who can shell out hundreds without blinking but rejects the gospel.

This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.

Are you willing to lose to gain? (a meditation on the heart of the Christian life)

“For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” ~ Jesus, Luke 9:25

In a single moment we come alive. Two cells fuse together and begin to multiply and grow, reproducing and reshaping until organs and body parts develop. Then we burst forth into the world and gasp that first breath. In a single moment we die. Sometimes we live out our days to a ripe old age, other times tragedy robs us far too soon. But that moment happens where the lungs exhale their final breath and the heart pulses its final beat.

On the headstone of many graves the story of everything between these two moments often finds its summary in a single dash.

A brief mark that encompasses a life. What do we do with that dash?

Often, life seems to be about survival. We work and fight through exercise and diet and doctors and pills in order to extend the distance of that last breath as far as possible from our first. Life also seems to be about comfort. If we’re happy then what must we do to maintain that happiness? If we’re not, then what must we add (or subtract) to achieve a state of bliss? Life can be about achievement. What are we going to be known for? What are people going to remember about that dash after the end date is carved into the stone?

When it comes to finding the best meaning, though, Jesus said, “I want you to let go”—don’t make it about survival, comfort, or achievement.

It’s a paradox that follows on the heels of hard words. First, Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Self denial and self death. Some people like to say, “God has a wonderful plan for your life.” Yet it’s not always immediate to see how a wonderful plan fits into the language of take up your cross.

The Roman cross was an instrument of brutal death, unlike many the world has seen. Involving public humiliation, being stripped naked and marched in open to be jeered by the crowds around you. You might be beaten, you might be whipped, and you might be stabbed. And then either with nails or rope or both you would be attached to wooden beams and left to agonize for gasps of air in the scorching of day and the chill of night until your body could bear no more.

It’s the path that Jesus walked and he called out to us to daily do the same: a daily death, daily setting aside of rights and wants and desires.

Yet, the paradox: “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?” (9:24-25).

If our ultimate goal is survival, comfort, or achievement then we’re going to be quite disappointed at the end of that dash. You can have it all: the best health, the best genes, the best doctors, the longest life, the least pain, the largest house, the most money, the most toys—every bit of pleasure and every experience of a “good life” that you desire. But when that final heart beat comes, it’s gone.

We brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world (1 Timothy 6:7).

When Jesus said to deny self and take up our crosses, his aim wasn’t to make us poor and miserable wretches who lack happiness in this life. Rather his aim was to show us how to find true life. Momentary pain today pales in comparison to eternal loss. Conversely, momentary pain today is not even worth comparing to the eternal glories and happiness of people who are willing to let go their grasps on this world for the sake of Christ (Romans 8:18).

In telling us to lose our lives, Jesus was teaching us how to gain life. In telling us to loose our grips on things we think will make us happy, Jesus was teaching us how to find true joy.

luke 12_32In Luke 12, Jesus taught that we are not to be anxious about food and clothing and gain in this world. Instead, we are to trust the Father. God indeed has a wonderful plan, the best plan: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (12:32). We gain this not by seeking survival, comfort, or achievement as our ultimate sources of meaning and happiness. We gain this by seeking his kingdom (12:31).

Practically, then, we become self-deniers and cross-bearers as we give ourselves for the sake of others: “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with money-bags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (12:33-34).

Give yourself away with a love of God and love for others and you will gain. That is the heart of the Christian life.

This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.

Sunday 08.02.15

This Sunday we’ll take a look at what 1 Timothy 6 says when it comes to what we do with our wealth and finding true treasure. Then at 6pm we encourage you to check out The Life of Jesus performed by the Jesus Ballet Troupe from South Korea at our sister church: First Baptist Archie.

@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm The Life of Jesus at FBC Archie

Sermon Notes
True Treasure ~ 1 Timothy 6:6-19

  • Desire the greatest gain: Jesus and righteousness (6:6-16)
    • Seek for godliness and contentment
    • Remember: wealth is temporary, Jesus is eternal
    • Flee discontentment and a love of money; pursue Jesus and his righteousness
  • Enjoy what you have but live for eternal treasure (6:17-19)
    • Let your hope be God, not money
    • Enjoy what you have…
    • …and be rich in doing good and sharing