I had the privilege of preaching twice in New Zealand recently during our Christmas break and thought I’d share one of those sermons here. I preached the same sermon both times. This is the longer of the two from Riverbend Bible Church in Hastings.
This sermon was originally preached in August at Placerita Baptist Church (our current church), and is based on El Roi – the name that Hagar gave to God in Genesis 16.
If you are particularly stuck for something to do you can watch it (in black and white for some reason) from here.
Otherwise, the audio is below.
Last Saturday we went to a series of lectures at Grace Community Church called “Understanding a World in Crisis”. Three lectures were delivered by Mathias Kern. Professor Kern is an adjunct professor at the Masters College, and has been involved in advising senior government officials in a number of countries for many years. He is also part of an international think tank based in Spain.
The lectures followed the following pattern:
Lecture 1: The Arab Spring, the Iranian Nuclear Program, and Consequences for Israel
Lecture 2: The Rise of Islam in the West
Lecture 3: Economic Crisis in Europe/America and the Post-American World Order and Q & A (with Will Varner)
You can access the lectures here. I’ve also created a podcast you can subscribe to here.
These are quite sobering, and perhaps disconcerting. Will Varner opened up these lectures by reading from Psalm 2:1-3, and closed them by commenting on the rest of the Psalm. I suggest a reading of this Psalm might be in order before and after you listen to them.
This post by Frank Turk from a few years ago is really good, and well worth digesting if you are considering leaving your church. Here is an extract
Listen: I have advice for you who are in these [something about this church is not right] situations which you are not going to like, and you are going to think that I have somehow gone soft when you hear it – but I am actually telling you how to buck up.
My advice is this: God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything….
See: the example Christ gives us is to die to sin and to do this for the sake of others. If our personal holiness is a matter of the highest importance, I think it turns out that it’s not in order to make ourselves into moral paragons: it is to make ourselves into offering poured out for the Lord
His focus is that we are not there to be served but to serve.
The comments are also very good. There are people who are in the process of leaving church who he interacts with. This is very helpful. This extract of one persons comments in particular stood out to me:
In the wake of that exodus I was forced to re-examine exactly why I attended church – and it turned out that I had been been coming there to be served, and not to serve. I hadn’t been loving people, I had been loving the attention that was given to me, and I found myself loving only those who gave it. When they left, I found I had no love for anyone else – and this awful truth jarred me deep down where it counts.
It isn’t a long read, but well worth it. Read it here. There is a followup post also worth reading here and another here.
If you haven’t already seen Ryan Ferguson’s recital of Hebrews 9-10, you should watch it. If you are interested in scripture memorization, this is quite inspiring.
He’s also done a few others, including Psalm 22, this recitation of Psalm 25 and this one of Psalm 145.
Earlier this year, I posted some tips for memorizing scripture like this (although I can’t act), and Cherie’s story of how she memorized 32 chapters as a wife and mother. Memorizing scripture is a powerful way to learn scripture and allow it to change you.
A few weeks ago (quite a few weeks ago – its been busy) I had the opportunity to teach in our Bereans Sunday School class at Placerita Baptist Church. We are working through a series on Discipleship when our main teacher, Dr Barrick, is away. This is my contribution to that series.
The text for this message is Acts 2:42-47