Weekly Message Archive
from Sunday Sermons at St. Luke's
January 3, 2016
Looking Back and Planning Ahead
Looking back and planning ahead. We ALL do some of that this time of year. It’s not BAD to look back like we did last Sunday, and count the blessings that we received from God’s hand during 2015. And it’s not bad to have a responsible financial plan for your household as we go into a new year.
But never lose sight of the fact that this life that we cling to so tightly is but a blip on the radar screen of eternity.The only thing that truly matters is that we worship the living God and love one another the way that Jesus loves us.
November 22, 2015
They Call It, THANKSGIVING
There is always something, you see, to cause us to be thankful.
This Thanksgiving Day we'll sit down with our family and some of us will remember. We'll remember the good times we have shared. We'll remember some of the blessings that have come our way, and we'll try to express our thankfulness to our Savior and our God.
My prayer for you is that sometime during your busy, busy day Thursday, you will spend a little time remembering how things were BEFORE you allowed God to invade your life and He began to bless you through His Holy Spirit. We have all been blessed in so many ways, I hope you’ll take the time to include our Lord and Savior in your preparations and celebrations.
November 15, 2015
She came forward trembling and fell at his feet and confessed that she was the one who had touched the hem of his garment. She had received much more than she expected, but much less than Jesus desired to give her.
Why did He insist on her public confession? It was not the MIRACLE that Jesus wanted to make PUBLIC, but rather the woman’s FAITH. He DEMANDED it for the benefit of others (like a testimony).
Faith is not intended to be a “private” matter as some seem to think. How often have you heard someone decline to discuss their spiritual condition, justifying themselves with the statement, “Well, my faith is a very personal thing…” Faith in Christ is not intended to be just personal. This was so important that Jesus refused to allow her to go without a confession of faith.
Jesus STILL requires a confession, we call it Baptism. Jesus said in Matthew 10:32, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven."
October 11, 2015
Comfort, Counsel, Consider
ENCOURAGEMENT IS A GREAT GIFT! But it’s not a gift people ordinarily come by “naturally.” We’re trained, almost from childhood, to taunt and ridicule others.
You’ll see it all the time on the playgrounds of our schools. But why do even kids tear down rather than build others up? Frankly, because it’s easier to do that.
I’ll close this morning with this poem, but after we’re done here with our message, I want to invite any of you that would like a little quiet prayer time to come down front. We’ll have a few of our prayer warriors linger just a while to pray with you for any concerns, worries, issues or needs, and we’ll stay as long as there are people that want to receive prayer cover or who just want to draw close with others in a time of prayer.
Here at St. Luke’s, we believe that prayer works. We KNOW that God listens, we know that He loves us, and we know that He will always respond to our sincere prayers.
So if you’ve had something on your heart for a while, maybe it’s keeping you up at night, or even making you feel sick, don’t leave here this morning without giving that concern or worry over to the God who understands you and loves you more than you could ever imagine.
October 4, 2015
Oh Lord I Love Your Forever
The character of the age is revealed in attitudes exposing people as increasingly self-centered, self-absorbed, focusing on feelings instead of trying to do what pleases God. Paul speaks of an era when the desire for pleasure will supersede love for God.
Increasingly, people in the last days will treat God as a convenience to be invoked when the going gets tough. They will have the appearance of godliness, but deny the power of righteousness.
Increasingly, the last days will be characterized by people that are led by their emotions, and society will be progressively feminized as men forsake their role as leaders in the home. HELLO...DOES ANY OF THIS SOUND FAMILIAR?
September 27, 2015
Praise...That's What It's All About
The reason we are here, as Jesus said is to let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Mt. 5:16) We are here to praise the LORD. It isn’t really that difficult. When we realize that we are praising a God of compassion and mercy, the rest of it sort of falls into place. No matter who we are or how we do it, as long as we’re giving thanks to God for His mercy and compassion in Christ - our light will shine and give glory to GOD. So if you’ve ever wondered what worship and praising God really is – “That’s what it’s all about.”
September 20, 2015
Praise the Lord
David acknowledged in Psalm 71:6, “my praise is continually of You.” You would think that continual praise of the Lord would be adequate. But he goes on to say “But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.” If DAVID needed to resolve to praise the Lord yet more and more, how much more do WE!
Maybe you’re thinking, “But I don’t have an out-going personality. I’m not the type who goes around saying, ‘Praise the Lord’ all the time.” But praising the Lord doesn’t mean repeating, “Praise the Lord,” over and over. Rather, praising the Lord is to exalt and rejoice in who God IS, and what He has DONE, especially, in what He has done to redeem you and me and draw us near to Him through the cross of Jesus Christ.
Genuine praise contains both a rational and an emotional element. With our minds, we must understand who God is, as revealed in His Word. Otherwise, we are not worshiping the TRUE God, or at least, God as He is truly revealed. But, also, when you understand who God IS and what He has DONE in sending His own Son to die for your sins, it affects your heart. It fills you with joy and thankfulness. It humbles you to realize that your sin put Him there.
September 6, 2015
THE ONLY OPINION THAT COUNTS... (GOD’S)
Jesus says, "Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
The fact is... EVERY good deed will be rewarded. Every good deed will be rewarded no matter how insignificant, regardless of whether anybody else on earth saw it or not. Every encouragement you give to other people, every kind word or compliment you give to your children, every time you do a thoughtful act for your wife/husband, every time you help in the church nursery or pass out bulletins, or encourage somebody who is hurting, every time you had the opportunity to gossip and you DIDN’T, every time you had the opportunity to be critical and you weren’t, God sees it all!
August 30, 2015
How Should We Praise God
EVERYONE likes recognition for their accomplishments, but few people make the need known quite as clearly as little Johnny who said to his father: "Let's play ball, Dad. I'll throw it and you say "That was great!'"
God does the good stuff in life, and we say “that was great!” THAT’S PRAISE!
I Corinthians 10:31
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
If there is ONE PERSON who should be praised, it’s the Lord! And you know why! The reasons are everywhere you look.
August 23, 2015
"Let's Have A Drink," Isaiah 12:3
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. That probably sounded pretty strange to the children of Israel. Getting water in those days was quite a task. Not only did they have to dig a well, they would have to go out to that well every day: draw the water out of the well, put the water in the jugs or jars, and carry them back to the house.
Sometimes, that well was outside the city gates. The women (of course) would have to travel out there day in, day out, hopefully just once a day, sometimes twice a day, no matter if the weather was cold or hot, quiet or windy, every day. They didn’t find much joy in going out to do that task, but now the Lord says to them 'with joy you will do that.'
Isaiah refers not to just earthly water, but the Living Waters of Life. In that day you will say: "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name. When they see and understand the Lord’s deliverance, they will thank Him. More than that, others around them will thank the Lord. He says, 'make known among the nations what He has done, and proclaim that His name is exalted.'"
And so it was that as the children of Israel traveled, and as the Lord defeated their enemies, the name of the Lord was exalted by the obedience of the children of Israel.
June 28, 2015
Our God Is Awesome
As a church that proclaims new life in Christ through His redemption, we should joyously celebrate the remembrance of His work. We should give thanks with our whole heart.
When we really grasp what he has done for us, we realize how "holy and awesome our God is!" When we realize that, we can begin to understand what He went through for us.
It's been said that "Wisdom Comes From A Right Relationship With God." When we fear the Lord, we begin to obtain His wisdom.
Wisdom is more than book smarts. It is a desire to follow God and his ways. When we follow Him and gain wisdom, we seek to praise Him even more! When we praise Him more, He grants us more wisdom, and on and on it goes.
May 31, 2015
"That you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world."
Blameless, Harmless, and Faultless?! We may never achieve absolute perfection... but holiness is definitely the end we should strive and work towards.
Why? Because, we are HIS people... the sheep of HIS pasture... We are HIS representatives... We are HIS ambassadors.
We are the living examples of the peace, love, strength, mercy, hope, joy and every other promise that being his people affords us!
Are we representing these attributes to the world around us?!
I challenge you this week to live your life in a manner that will be pleasing to God! I challenge you to live your life as if Christianity was on trial and YOU were the key defendant and the star witness.
I challenge you to let your holy lifestyle be the anointed straw that breaks the back of the devil’s bondage on your family, your co-workers, and your friends.
April 26, 2015
Murder, He Wrote
Just like God gave Israel this vineyard, God has given us a vineyard and He has met every single need in our life. Think about the children and grandchildren God's given you. Think about the spouse God gave you. Think about the job God gave you.
When it comes to the songs we sing in church, I've always heard it said that you can SING a lie just as easy as you can TELL a lie. But there's one song we can truly sing with a clear conscious ...and I want to close our service with that song this morning. It's called, "Good To Me," and the chorus goes like this: "for You are good, for You are good, for You are good to me."
No matter what kind of problems you may be facing in your life, it really doesn't hold a candle next to the good things that God has blessed you with.
April 19, 2015
"Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born, You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God."
Moses begins his meditation with a description of who God is. Moses says that God is a "dwelling place." God is portrayed as sheltering, comforting, protecting, and cherishing His own. This was important for the Israelites to understand. They were a people without a country. At least in Egypt they had a roof over their heads and the protection of the walls and armies of Egypt.
Now they were insecure and afraid. They were living in tents in the middle of nowhere. They were fair game for wild animals, other tribes, or local kings that wanted to attack them. But Moses reminds them that no matter how insecure and temporary their lives seem at the moment, they are protected by the eternal God. Moses knew that ultimately man's "safe place," is not in a PLACE at all, but in the Person of God Himself.
April 12, 2015
So what good is worship? David, by affirming his faith in God through a psalm of worship, transformed his desert experience. And therein lies a lesson for us.
Some days, even some Sundays, we don't feel like worshiping. Yes – even I have those Sundays! But WE ARE TO WORSHIP - NO MATTER WHAT; even in a desert place in life – especially when we're in a desert place in life – we should worship because it frames our focus on God. No matter how we feel, no matter how bad our week or day, no matter our mood, WE WORSHIP. Worship reminds us to live not at the mercy of our moods, but in the mercy of our God.
March 29, 2015
Why Mary Magdalene?
Well, because the whole thing seemed fantastic to her. When a person died... they were dead. It was kind of permanent that way. People didn't rise from the dead... so Jesus couldn't have risen from the grave.
So Mary returns to the tomb. And when she went there, she went looking for a dead Jesus, not for a living one. And it's there that Jesus appears to her.
Oddly enough, the FIRST PERSON Jesus appeared to was Mary Magdalene!
In fact, Mark 16:9, tells us that very thing:
"When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene..."
But why appear to her first? There were ALL KINDS of people Jesus could have appeared to; He could have appeared to his mother Mary, the woman who'd given birth to Him. Or He could have appeared to the OTHER women who'd gotten the message right!
Or He could simply have gone first to His Apostles. BUT HE DIDN'T DO THAT!
He appears to Mary Magdalene, the woman who couldn't even believe an angel.
March 22, 2015
Jesus Gave Us Peace
The last half of the book of John is filled with anxiety, stress and questions, because in these passages Jesus is spending His last few days with His disciples before He dies on the cross. And yet no portion of Scripture has more intimacy, warmth, and practical principles you can apply to your life. These are principles of peace!
Think of the pressure the disciples were under. Jesus was trying to teach them lessons in humility...because they were about to be given the huge responsibility of taking the gospel to the world. This would be difficult because they are so filled with pride that God can't use them.
How prideful were they? The Lord caught them arguing about who was the greatest, and who would get to sit next to Jesus in the kingdom one day. Jesus settled THAT argument as He put on an apron, knelt, and washed their dirty feet...a task that was reserved for servants in those days.
March 15, 2015
Jesus the Multiplier
But then Andrew says that little three-letter word that changes everything… "BUT." "Here’s the bread and fish, BUT…" Andrew once again falls into the trap of the impossible. In this case, Andrew is limiting God's ability to work. He got so close; he knew where to turn. But truth be told, Andrew's faith in Jesus was too small. In essence, what Andrew was really saying was, "We've got these five loaves of bread and two fish, BUT… not even YOU can do anything with them."
Let me tell you, the word "BUT" is a ministry killer. "BUT" is keeping our churches from being faithful to God's calling. "BUT" is keeping us from doing the impossible through God.
March 8, 2015
Beware Fool's Gold
Fool’s Gold is a terrible master. It literally damages the lives of those who worship it. But by contrast, our God seeks to give us hope and peace and courage. He loves us SO MUCH that He GAVE us the most valuable gift He had!
He so loved us, that He gave us His only begotten Son. And it is through Jesus that we know that we don’t have to be afraid or discouraged. It is through Jesus that we know that God will never leave us nor forsake us. And it’s through Jesus that we know that the wealth and possessions this world offers, are but Fool's Gold.
March 1, 2015
God hates sin and He doesn’t want us to get trapped by it. God hates sin, but He still loves the sinner.
Someone wrote this about a BUMBLEBEE: “A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies UNLESS it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.”
In many ways, we are a lot like the bumblebee. We struggle with all our problems and sin, never realizing that all we really need to do is look up!
February 22, 2015
"Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice . . . Restore to me the joy of your salvation . . ." Psalm 51,vv. 8, and 12.
David does not ask to have his salvation restored, because sin doesn’t cause us to lose our salvation. Instead, he asks for his JOY to be restored, for sin robs us of our joy. If you fall into sin, you can be saved and still be miserable. The most unhappy man on earth, is not the unsaved sinner. He’s living it up, having a ball, and enjoying the pleasure of sin. But the child of God who is out of fellowship due to sin is truly miserable. When you became a Christian, you were not changed so that you can no longer sin, but you were changed so that you can no longer enjoy it like you used to.
February 15, 2015
Guard Your Heart This Valentine's Day
The state of a person’s natural life depends upon the soundness and vigor of his heart. And the state of a person's spiritual life depends on the good or evil condition of his heart. Inasmuch as the heart of a person is the most important part of his being, "for it is the wellspring of life", it is only reasonable that it should be guarded "with all diligence". Therefore, I want to say to you today--Guard Your Heart this Valentine's Day Weekend.
J. Stowell, in his book, “Fan The Flame,” defines the heart as used in Scripture as: the most comprehensive term for the authentic person. It is the part of our being where we desire, deliberate, and decide.
It has been described as "the place of conscious and decisive spiritual activity," "the comprehensive term for a person as a whole; his feelings, desires, passions, thought, understanding and will," and it's also referred to as "the center of a person, and the place to which God turns."
February 8, 2015
A Korah's Line (inspired by Psalm 42, attributed to The Sons of Korah)
When David says, “therefore I will remember you” nothing is different yet, nothing has changed. It’s at this point that some hope sneaks back into his life. Listen carefully. Sometimes the recovery of our hope doesn’t depend on making sense of the present moment, but rather in our memories of who God is, and what He has done for us. Ultimately, we cling to the memory of what happened on the cross, where Jesus died for you and me.
Someone has said that the past provides a stable foundation for our existence because it’s unchangeable. We would not have a future to look forward to, if we didn’t have a reliable past to look back on.
February 1, 2015
The Book of Esther
Our frustration in searching in vain for something that is literally right under our noses, is the same that you will experience when you read the book of Esther. Where is God hiding? Nowhere does the book mention God, or even hint at Him, in any of its 10 chapters. The story mentions the Persian king 190 times in 167 verses, but not even one mention of God!
In fact, Esther is the ONLY ONE of the 66 books of the Bible that does NOT explicitly name God. The book records no prayer offered in God's name. Not a single individual says, "God is here!" No one gives Him the credit for Haman's hanging, Esther's becoming queen, Mordecai's promotion, or the saving of the Jews from genocide.
January 11, 2015
God’s Prescription for Our Mental Health
God is our Heavenly Father. He does love us more than life itself. He is deeply concerned about everything in our lives. He is touched by our feelings of insecurity, our lack of faith, our worries and our cares. So we must go right on praying, asking, and seeking his will about everything!
And the end result will be good. It will be VERY good. We will receive answers. We will receive direction for our lives.
Some doors will be shut. Others will be opened. And God will provide for us and bring peace to our hearts and minds. We will be blessed. We will live better lives!
January 4, 2015
God’s law is based on His own character
God’s law is based on His own character. We know that God said that He will avenge and punish every sin committed. The Bible also says that God is the God who forgives, but He takes vengeance on our sins. That sounds contradictory until you see it in light of the cross. For those who have laid their sins at the cross of Christ, God has avenged our sins.
Through Jesus Christ, our sins are forgiven and avenged. Only in Him are mercy and justice united. The cross is necessary because without the cross, the penalty of sin would fall on our shoulders. Forgiveness is not possible without justice. Because of the cross, God is able to be just and the justifier of those who place their faith in Jesus.
December 28, 2014
II Cor. 2:14-15
"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ..."
We are the aroma of Christ to our Heavenly Father, but we should also be the aroma of Christ, the sweet fragrance of Christ TO THE WORLD. We need to spruce up our lives with the sweet fragrance of Christ!
December 21, 2014
All The Earth Is Waiting
Then, when the night seemed darkest, something remarkable happened. A tiny spark of light appeared. An angel spoke to a young woman and told her that she would conceive and bear a son, and that son would be the Son of the Most High God - that he would be the Messiah.
December 14, 2014
Giving and Receiving the Gift of Joy
Joy is a wonderful thing, a thing that overtakes us when we are on the path shown to us by Christ. It is not continuous - at least in this world -- but it pops up whenever we see God at work healing the sick, curing the lame, giving sight to the blind, and proclaiming good news to those who are poor. It pops up when we do the work of God - and understand that God is doing His work in the circumstances around us.