Monthly Archives: January 2014

“Created Good” – Genesis 1:9-31

Created Good


What is good? Jesus said, “No one is good but One, that is, God.” (Mark 10:18) Yet, Genesis 1 indicates that God created a lot of good. In fact, He states that everything He created is more than good; it is VERY good. That includes man, who God deemed “very good.” What exactly was God saying about the creation, and particularly about the man and woman He created?
It doesn’t take a lot of wisdom to recognize that we are not all morally “good” and certainly, we are not superlatively good, as God suggested at the time of creation. There’s a lot of good in the world, yet we see a lot of evil. We do good things and we all love to cheer on the good guy and gal. We long for goodness to prevail over evil. But are we, ourselves, really good and how do we know? Good for what? What does it mean for you and me to be good, if that can even be said of us and others? Our passage this Sunday has a lot to say about this matter and how it plays out in your daily life. I hope you’ll see that you are, and you can be, better than you may think!
Come join us Sunday morning as we continue our journey through the book of Genesis. Our worship service begins at 10:30 and Sunday school is from 9:15 – 10:15 in the Parish House and is for all ages. Bring a friend or family member to church and Sunday school. Everyone is welcome!

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“And God Said” – Genesis 1:1-8



We are really going to get into it this Sunday. Was the earth made in 6, 24 hour days? Did God really create it? What are we to make of the creation accounts in the Bible? What about science? Does it really matter to your faith anyway?
Those who first heard the book of Genesis probably never envisioned the questions I just mentioned. They have little to do with the true focus of the first chapter of Genesis and can derail us from considering its main emphasis. Yet, we must first consider these 21st century questions to better understand the main message of the beginning to Genesis.
OK. No more hints. Come join us as we continue to kick off our journey through the book of Genesis during Sunday morning worship at 10:30. Don’t forget, Sunday school is from 9:15 – 10:15 in the Parish House and is for all ages. Bring a friend or family member to church and Sunday school. Everyone is welcome!

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“Before the Beginning” – Genesis 1:1-2

Genesis Book of Beginnings



This Sunday we begin a new sermon series through the book of Genesis. This journey will probably take us a year and a half but will be instrumental in forming our Christian world view and giving us an understanding of the rest of Scripture. My hope is that it will serve as an anchor to your faith and a help to navigating day to day life in the modern world.


Genesis means “origin,” but Genesis is not the original title of the book. It’s original Hebrew title was “In Beginning.” The Greek translation of the Old Testament changed the title approximately 300 years before the birth of Christ to Genesis. In either case, it is a book of beginnings or origins and, in a sense, it is a book that tells us about the One who was before the beginning of time.


Genesis covers a span of about 2,000 years and is not a complete history but is a spiritually focused history, yet it is historical (not mythical) in nature. It is a book that provided great encouragement to Old Testament Jews and provides Christians with much more as we’ve seen the promises contained therein fulfilled again and again and in their entirety in Jesus Christ.


This week’s passage is only two verses long but it is safe to say that mankind has commented more on these two verses than any other two verses in the entire Bible. Verse 1 is undoubtedly the most well known verse in the Bible. From the passage we’ll learn that, despite our culture’s best attempts, we cannot liberate ourselves from God. We’ll see a number of different reasons why our perspective on God makes a difference in how we approach life.


Come join us in kicking off this new journey through this ancient book as we meet together Sunday morning at 10:30 for worship. Sunday school is at 9:15 in the Parish House for all ages. This is a great week to bring a friend or family member to church and Sunday school. Everyone is welcome!

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Are You a Minimizer?

Jesus saves sign

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)


I talk and preach a lot about the Gospel. By the Gospel, I’m referring to the Gospel of Jesus Christ – the historical and theological reality that Jesus lived, died as a sacrifice for sins on the cross and rose from the dead, overcoming death and providing eternal life for all who put their faith in what He did. My faith is unapologetically Gospel-centric, in that not only do I believe that our eternal salvation depends on our faith in the Gospel, but that our world view and the way in which we live our lives are deeply affected by what we believe about the Gospel.


I hope you have put your faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you truly have, the Holy Spirit will begin and continue to change the way you live your life and respond to its challenges. One way to assess the role of the Gospel in your life is to gauge how you react to your own sin.


Bob Thune and Will Walker, authors of The Gospel Centered Life, have designed a short diagnostic tool to help us see how we deal with sin. I found it very revealing. Determine which of these responses (may well be more than one) best describes your response to sin:


I find it difficult to receive feedback about weaknesses or sin. When confronted, my tendency is to explain things away, talk about my successes, or justify my decisions. As a result, people are hesitant to approach me and I rarely have conversations about difficult things in my life.


I strive to keep up appearances and maintain a respectable image. My behavior, to some degree, is driven by what I think others think of me. I also do not like to think reflectively about my life. As a result, not many people know the real me. (I may not even know the real me.)


I tend to conceal as much as I can about my life, especially the “bad stuff.” This is different from faking, in that faking is about impressing. Hiding is more about shame. I don’t think people will accept or love the real me.


I tend to think (and talk) more highly of myself than I ought. I make things (good and bad) out to be much bigger than they are (usually to get attention). As a result, things often get more attention than they deserve and have a way of making me stressed or anxious.


I am quick to blame others for sin or circumstances. I have a difficult time “owning” my contributions to sin or conflict. There is an element of pride that assumes it’s not my fault and/or an element of fear of rejection if it is my fault.


I tend to give little weight to sin or circumstances in my life, as if they are “normal” or “not that bad.” As a result, things often don’t get the attention they deserve. They have a way of mounting to the point of being overwhelming.


Which of these best describes you? None? Are you sure you’re not just “downplaying” or in denial? Each of these responses represents an attempt to justify yourself, rather than let Jesus justify you through the Gospel. When you minimize your sin, you try to justify yourself or find your worth in something other than the Gospel, and that means you end up minimizing Jesus. In doing so, you have begun to find ways to build worth and justify yourself apart from Christ. It causes you to live your life for someone or something else and relegate Jesus to the sidelines. Minimizing Jesus always ends in disappointment, keeps His Gospel grace from freeing you to be and do what He created you for, and denies you the relief you need from sin and despair.


I want you to know, it is never too late to turn to Jesus. Yes, you may already be a Christian and have faith in the Gospel, but the Gospel is not merely for “getting saved,” it is for all of life. Right now, and every day, you and I must bring our attempts to minimize Jesus and maximize something else to the cross and receive Christ’s forgiveness and grace to maximize the impact of the Gospel in our lives. Every one of us needs to and denying it just means you need to take another look at the list. Don’t wait and waste your short life. Give Jesus the place in your heart He already holds in the universe. His grace is more than sufficient.

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“Our Turn” – Acts 28:11-31



We made it! We made it to the last section of the book of Acts. Does it end the way you expected? Maybe you already knew the ending. Paul made it to Rome but the ending seems so anticlimactic. Especially, given that this is the last piece of biblical history we really have outside of a few particulars found in the later epistles. What are we to make of the ending?

The year is 63 A.D. and it has been 30 years since Jesus ascended into heaven. The church is three decades old and yet, despite all the changes, it looks quite similar to the way it started. That’s something Luke, the author of Acts, goes out of his way to show us in this last passage. You see, the ending really isn’t about the Apostle Paul. It’s all about Jesus. Acts begins with Jesus and ends with Jesus, even though it begins in Jerusalem and ends in the center of the Roman Empire. If we approach the ending with our eyes fixed on Paul we’ll be disappointed. We don’t learn, in Acts, if he was ever released from prison. We don’t learn if he ever met face to face with Caesar. We don’t find out if he made it to Spain as he ultimately hoped. We’re left wondering about Paul. But if we fix our eyes on Jesus, we’ll see that the ending to Acts had to be as it is. We’ll see the continuity between the early church, the church 30 years later and the church in the present age. If your eyes are fixed on Jesus, you can’t help but be encouraged and excited about what He has in store for you and for our church.

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