Month: July 2017

A Seed Patiently Waiting (C.S. Lewis Quote)

Think of yourself, just as a seed patiently waiting in the earth; waiting to come up a flower in the Gardener’s good time, up into the real world, the real waking. C.S. Lewis

We are not yet finished.
Nothing in the created order is yet finished.
We are already in motion, but we are not yet there.
We have already received the first fruits, but not the final harvest. We are waiting, patiently waiting, for the real waking.

But we have the confidence of the Apostle Paul who says,”I am confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will
will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Be patient. Wait. Trust. Persevere.
There is more.
With God, the best is always still to come.

Pastor Brian

 

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4 Ways That God Renews His People

Coming Alive: Renewal, Revival, Awakening!

Our July sermon series is all about life. New life. God’s life. Life in Christ. Life together with others who are a part of the new community Christ is creating called Living Word Community Church. We are called out of death to life.

This life is a life of flourishing. It is a life that is full and overflowing, real and eternal. It is more and better life than we ever dreamed possible.

Back to the Basics

“Gentlemen, this is a football.” Those are the words of the legendary coach, Vince Lombardi, as he was preparing to lead the Green Bay Packers to a winning season and a championship year. “Gentlemen, this is a football” means going back to the basics.

The “winningest” college basketball coach of all time was John Wooden of UCLA. He was famous for constantly taking his team back to the basics. Tie your shoes tight. Dribble. Pass. Shoot. Condition. Wooden didn’t believe in trick plays. He believed in the basics executed flawlessly.

Renewal/revival is God taking us back to the spiritual basics!

I mentioned in last week’s Sunday sermon that I spent about 2 years studying every time of revival/renewal …

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John Wesley on Salvation


Read this wonderful explanation of what is included in salvation by John Wesley, the great revivalist and founder of the Methodist church:

By salvation I mean, not barely deliverance from hell, or going to heaven, but a present deliverance from sin, a restoration of the soul to its primitive health, its original purity; a recovery of the divine nature, the renewal of our souls after the image of God in righteousness and true holiness, injustice, mercy, and truth. (John Wesley, The Works of John Wesley, Volume 11, page 106)

This is so much richer, fuller, deeper (and biblical) than ideas of salvation that focus only on justification. As great as justification is, it is only one jewel in a crown of spiritual blessings given to us in Christ, through the Spirit, at the time of conversion.

Read Ephesians 1:1-14 to be inspired about the beautiful salvation God is working in you. Of that salvation, Paul says: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

It is our commitment and our joy to help everyone who is a part of …

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The Lord!

 

The LORD.

When the Bible talks about God the LORD, one of the constant descriptions is the mightiness of the Lord. The Lord is the Almighty.

There is another wonderful word that describes our mighty, Almighty Lord. It is the word sovereign.

Sovereign and Lord are synonyms. A sovereign is a lord and a lord is a sovereign.

A Lord is one who has sovereignty.

To have sovereignty is to have power and authority.

To have sovereignty is to not only have the ability (power) to do something, but also the right (authority) to do something.

Our God has the power and authority to do whatever he desires.

First and foremost, what God desires above all is to be Lord in your life. God desires that you know he is Lord and that you trust, love, worship, and obey him as your Lord.

There is nothing else as important as this. For only when you understand the Lordship of God will you be able to properly understand the love, grace, and mercy of God. Without knowing him as Lord, you will inevitably reduce his love and grace to a sentimentality that is devoid of holy majesty.

It is …

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Science and Faith are Meant to be Friends

I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.
Albert Einstein

Einstein was a brilliant physicist and mathematician, but one who did not make the jump to a secular scientism and a cold universe.

While there are certainly hordes of such scientists today, it is not a foregone conclusion of science. In fact, there is a growing number of brilliant scientists in all fields who believe that Intelligent Design is a meaningful and valid “theory” for the universe.

Now, such Intelligent Design is at best a generic Theism, but that is a long step in the right direction.

Christians do not need to be afraid of science or its discoveries. We do need to be concerned with atheistic and secularist approaches to science. This is what has hoodwinked large numbers of people. These are the conclusions of a philosophical naturalism rather than science itself. The robust literature against such a view of science is growing.

Pastor Brian

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The Lord God Almighty

Great and marvelous are your deeds,
LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.
Just and true are your ways,
King of the Nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come and worship before you.
For your righteous acts have been revealed.

Revelation 15:3-4

Read these two verses several times. Then reflect, be attentive, “listen up,” and draw near.

Who is your God? What does this passage from Revelation say about your God?

What is the only proper response to this Lord God Almighty?

  • Is this how you have lived in the last 24 hours?
  • Is this how you long to live for the next 24 hours?
  • Is this how you desire to live a life of devotion?

These are supremely important questions. How you answer them will have the most profound consequences.

Please answer them with great faithfulness.

Pastor Brian

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When You Don’t Forgive


Here is a great insight from feisty, innovative, provocative, and always funny Anne Lamott. And it is on a spiritual theme that is of central importance for all of us.

Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.

Some of the best theology we do may be called practical theology (or pastoral theology or spiritual theology). Such theology has to do with the essential features of being human, being in relationship with others, and attending to the fluctuations and movement of the soul, emotions, thinking, and such.

Central to such pastoral theology will be wise reflection on themes of forgiveness and its opposite, unforgiveness.

Such reflection will first involve engaging the biblical teaching on forgiveness and, in particular, the teaching and illustration of Jesus.

Second, will be reflection on one’s own capacity for forgiveness and a rigorous, as well as gentle, searching for why forgiveness is hard. May I suggest that forgiveness does not come naturally or easily for most of us–even if you have been following Jesus for many long years.

Third, will be a deeper understanding of the consequences of forgiveness and unforgiveness. It is in this category that the …

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My Favorite Authors (A Series): C.S. Lewis

I am an avid reader. I think most of you who read this blog know that. And I enjoy good conversations with my many friends and colleagues who are avid readers as well. We will often refer to authors when we preach and teach. We know that these authors are not always so familiar to you, so I decided that I will do an occasional post on the authors who have influenced me and whose insights inevitably are woven into sermons and all kinds of lessons.

I do have favorite authors and quite a few of them, but none of them stand higher or are more prevailing than C.S. Lewis.

Lewis is a favorite author for evangelicals around the world.

Whether it is the children’s (and adult) stories known as The Chronicles of Narnia, or the witty revealing of how the devil works against us in The Screwtape Letters, or the amazingly, still popular explanation and defense of the Christian faith, Mere Christianity, Lewis remains a best seller.

Over 200 million copies of his books have been sold. Every year, Mere Christianity still sells 150,000 copies!

There is a C.S. Lewis Bible (NRSV edition) that includes hundreds …

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A Life Worth Reading by Guest Blogger Garrett Lowe

It has been said that if you know how to read but choose not to, you are no better off than someone who is illiterate.

I was not always someone who enjoyed reading. I was encouraged by my parents to read, I was forced to read for school assignments, and the mentors that I’ve had throughout my life have always challenged me to read. I can tell you today that reading isn’t always the easiest discipline, but it sure has been one of the most helpful tools in terms of growth in all areas of my life.

If you’re a young adult, you need to read! You are at such an exciting stage of life where you are experiencing a lot of newness and “firsts.”

  • Getting that first job
  • Buying that new car
  • Renting that first apartment
  • Moving to a new area
  • Going on first dates, etc.

This is a season ripe with opportunities for growth in areas they didn’t teach you about in high school, college, or even at home. Here’s my suggested reading list for every young adult who desires to become a flourishing adult. Even if you are past the young adult season, these are still helpful …

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Sustainable Friends by Guest Blogger Ned Keene


Being “sustainable” is all the rage right now: sustainable food, sustainable fabric, sustainable energy, etc.

You name it, someone’s trying to figure out how to make it sustainable.

The irony is that never before in our culture have relationships been treated with such a throw-away mentality as they are now. So, is anyone talking about sustainable relationships? We are.

Sustainable friendships are ones that stand the test of time. They endure. They face all that life throws at them, and they keep on going. They become an oasis of love in a desert-dry world crying out for connection and belonging.

Sustainable friendships grow best in environments where people do life together, share their stories and journeys, and pursue Jesus with enthusiasm and joy. These occur mostly in small groups we call growth groups. Trust grows, vulnerabilities develop, sacrifices become frequent, and all this blossoms into lifelong loving.

I can’t recall how many times over the years I’ve heard a member of a group say one of the following:

“I never would have thought we’d become such great friends!”

“We love these guys, and we’ve only known them for months!”

“We’ve gone on vacations with each other.”

“They walked me …

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