Sermon #48 — “Words from the Beloved Apostle: Love, Obedience, and Power” — 1 John 5:1-5

“So, without love, there can be no hearty submission to the will of God, and there can be no real and heartfelt trust and confidence in him.”  Jonathan Edwards In Christ, God has victoriously asserted this redeeming power over the fallen world to set it right, a work into which he calls us to be … Continue reading

Sermon #47 — Our Pilgrimage to Grace: Father’s Running Embrace — Luke 15:11-32, Pt. 5 (Easter)

  _ “If believers’ eyes are turned to the power of the resurrection,  in their hearts the cross of Christ will at last triumph over the  devil, flesh, sin, and wicked men.” John Calvin           God’s love for us is in place before we ever do anything to deserve it.  God … Continue reading

Sermon #46 — “Our Pilgrimage to Grace: Looking for Home” — Luke 15:11-32, Pt. 4

“Is it not the very essence of the Christian hope,  that we shall be changed from much bad to all good?” George MacDonald, 19th century Scottish Preacher and Writer. By taking upon himself the painful, humiliating consequences of our sin, God breaks our self-centered pride, plants the true humility of repentance in us, ans so … Continue reading

Sermon #45 — Our Pilgrimage to Grace: In the Valley of Despair — Luke 15:11-32, Pt. 3

  “Full often the most advantageous place for our manhood is that which is surrounded with splendid difficulties.” Charles H. Spurgeon When we attempt to live for ourselves and by means of ourselves, our lives become twisted and ruined, because God has designed us to live for him and by means of him, which is … Continue reading

Sermon #44 — Our Pilgrimage to Grace: Into the Place of Emptiness — Luke 15:11-32, Pt. 2

 “Inordinate love of the flesh is cruelty, because under the appearance of pleasing the body we kill the soul.” Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) In Sermon #43, I began an exploration of this most famous of all parable, commonly called the “Parable of the Prodigal Son.”  In that first installment, I discussed the context.  We saw … Continue reading

Sermon #43 — Our Pilgrimage to Grace: Itching for Something Else — Luke 15:11-32

“Nearly everyone who wrestles seriously with this [parable of the “Prodigal Son”] ends up with a sense of awe at its inexhaustible content.”  Kenneth Bailey Who is the Father that Jesus talks so much about?  What is he like and what does that mean for us?  This is the first of a series of sermons … Continue reading

Sermon #42 — Words from the Beloved Apostle: Loving Jesus — 1 John 4:15-21

      “Our great need, then, is simply Jesus Christ.  He is what we need.  He has what we need.  He knows what we need to know.  He has the ability to do in us what we cannot do – working in us that which is well-pleasing in God’s sight.”  A. W. Tozer. Knowing … Continue reading

Pastor Note #50 — Of Love, the Mission of Christ, and a Long-ago Visit to Pakistan

            The room where we all sat was crowded and dark and made of heavy stone.  It felt almost like a castle or a fortress.  That wasn’t so surprising.  We later found out that the building had been built by the British during the “Raj” as a garrison for their troops.  Now it housed … Continue reading

Sermon #40 — Words from the Beloved Apostle: Loving Like Jesus Again — 1 John 4:7-14

Is loving hard or easy?  Well, it very much depends on what you are referring to by the word “love.”  In much of modern, Western culture, love is presented as a feeling or a passion.  If that is true, if love is really a feeling or an emotion, then we should think of love as … Continue reading

Sermon #34 — Learning Love from Jesus — 1 John 3:18-24

For the Christian, love is not a feeling; it is an active endeavor to work toward the well-being of another person.  But our world presents us with many competing definitions of what makes for human well-being.  How are we to seek the well-being of another person?  We can’t unless we have some clear sense of … Continue reading