X Games Christianity

February 6th, 2011

What lessons can the Winter X Games teach us about our approach to Christianity?

Presented to the Indian Creek church of Christ February 6, 2011.

More Blessed than Apostles

November 26th, 2007

This sermon is based on an idea I had long ago while reading John 20:24-29. Christians today are more blessed than the apostles because they have believed without seeing.

Nobody Wears a Mouthpiece to Play Badminton

August 27th, 2007

The sermon, linked below, was delivered by me to the Indian Creek church of Christ in Hardin, IL this morning. The audio quality is not impressive because I recorded it with my cell phone however, it is understandable. Contrary to the impression you might get listening to it, I did not preach with marbles in my mouth.

The primary text is Ephesians 6:10-17.

Never Give In

February 24th, 2006

What many people think of as Winston Churchill’s shortest speech was actually much longer than it is usually described as being. Much of the speech is frequently forgotten in light of the powerful simplicity of the well remembered fragment cited below:

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

Truly these words stand out. The simple repetition, instead of getting dull, increases the impact of the simple message– never give in.

These words have gained much fame among men, but in reality they only echo words God spoke to us long ago in the Bible in such passages as 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” and James 1:2-4,12 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. … Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

The wisdom of Churchill is appealing, but the wisdom of God is unfailing. Never give in. Continue resolutely in the work of the LORD.

Watch What You Eat

January 6th, 2006

We all know the old saying “you are what you eat” and in a number of ways it’s true. Eating nutritious food will make your body healthier and like it or not, eating junk food is bad for your body.

The same is true for your spirit. Everyday you eat spiritual food. While you may not realize it, the things you hear, see, and experience are spiritual food. Whatever goes into your mind is the food your spirit feeds on.

In Matthew 4:4 Jesus says “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” and in Matthew 5:6 He says “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” When you dwell on God’s word, you are eating good spiritual food.

Likewise Jesus also says in Matthew 6:23 “But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”. Here Jesus is not talking about physical disability. He is talking about what you see and how you see it. If you fill your eyes with darkness, that darkness will fill you or if you see things in a negative light, that negativity will fill you. When you allow things into your mind that are not in tune with God’s will, you are eating bad spiritual food.

Think about these things as you decide what television shows or movies you will watch, what music you will listen to, and what books you will read.

Return to Fundamentals

January 2nd, 2006

Many people have a lot of different ideas about Christianity today. If you’re of a mind to you can search around till you find somebody who says exactly what you want to hear. With so many different flavors and variants of Christianity, it can become very easy to for Christians to find ways to set each other apart.

The human brain has an amazing power to discern patterns. This power is part of the basic functionality of the brain. When faced with something unusual or confusing, the first thing a mind tries to do is make sense of that thing by searching for patterns in it. The mind also has an great ability to detect irregularities in recognized patterns.

These two primary operations of the brain frequently combine to lead us to see how two things are different more quickly than we see how they are the same. The same is true in the practice of religion. So frequently and so sadly many people define their beliefs by delineating how they differ from the beliefs and practices of others.

In order to combat this we must return to the fundamentals.

Additionally, with so many widely varied ideas about, approaches to, and interpretations of the Bible it seems we often have the desire to make sure that any reply we give to an answer about our religion is subtly shaded to bring out every imaginable nuance of what we are trying to say. After all, with so many different ways of thinking, we want to be sure we are saying exactly what we want to say without someone else’s perceptions coloring the perception of the reply we give.

Such an attitude can make discussing religion so difficult and complex, that instead of seizing an opportunity to perhaps help some confused believer, we find ourselves paralyzed by the inability to fully frame the precise verbiage to create a perfect image in that believer’s mind.

In order to combat this we must return to the fundamentals.

In 1 Corinthians 2:2 we read that when the Apostle Paul was in Corinth he had this attitude towards preaching “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

Paul was determined to return to and stay with the fundamentals. There is nothing more fundamental to the entire concept of Christianity than “Jesus Christ and Him crucified”.

With so many complications, distractions, and needless distinctions in the world of Christianity today it can become easy to lose grasp of the fact that whether you believe that Jesus is “the reason for the season” or not, Jesus is the reason period.

The crucifixion of Christ allowing him to be the atonement for our sins is the heart of Christianity. There is nothing more important, there is nothing that can overshadow this basic foundation.

This is the fundamental we need to return to.

When we, as Paul, resolve to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified we begin to see other Christians in a new light. When we strip away all the extraneous trappings we can begin to see similarities instead of differences.

In Luke 9:49-50 we read “Master,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”

John saw someone he didn’t recognize working in Jesus name tried to stop him. Why? Perhaps he wasn’t sure the man’s doctrine was sound. Perhaps the man was casting out the demons in a style John didn’t think was appropriate.

The bottom line is that Jesus did not agree with John’s response to the situation. “Whoever is not against you is for you,” Jesus said. Jesus implied that John’s limited vision was hindering the spread of the gospel.

Many times today we react just as John did. It is far from unusual to find two churches not far from each other both of which have the same name on their signs, but neither of which want to associate or be associated with the other.

To combat this we all need to return to the fundamentals.

Let us consider that those producing fruit in the Lord’s harvest are doing God’s will. If their methods are successful- it is God blessing their work. Perhaps their methods should be studied and if appropriate adapted to use elsewhere.

However, we must also realize that it is also fundamental to Christianity that thinking along the lines described above cannot be used to countenance the distortion or abrogation of God’s will.

In Matt 12:30 Jesus says “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.” Instead of contradicting what He told John in the passage above, Jesus here is simply making it clear that participation in God’s work can only be done on God’s terms.

Jesus told John “He who is not against me is for me.” Here He says “He who is not with me is against me.” That is, everyone who is with Christ is for him. You can serve Jesus any way you like as long as the way you choose is in accord with His teachings.

In order to be ‘with’ Christ we must abide in his Word.

2 Tim 3:14-17 tell us we must “continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

We must stand firm in what we have learned. Not only this but as 2 Tim 2:15 tells us we each must “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

It is fundamental to Christianity that we stand firm in the authority of God’s Word in all we do and say.

However, simply abiding in the Word is not sufficient if we don’t spread it.

In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus commanded “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” The job of Christians is to make other Christians. We have to spread the word of God as in 2 Tim 4:2 “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage— with great patience and careful instruction.”

It is fundamental to Christianity that we must preach.

Once again, when we preach let us look to the fundamentals.

Rom 1:16 “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”

Rom 3:21-25 “But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.”

Rom 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit”

Such fundamental preaching brings us full circle to Jesus Christ and Him crucified.


August 18th, 2005

Here it is- I am actually beginning a ‘blog’ so to speak.

The posts here will likely consist of responses to things I’ve heard, thoughts I have, and other blatherings I might compose relating to spiritual or religious topics.

Please check the other categories of content listed in the sidebar.

Excelling in Attitude

August 17th, 2005

Excelling in Attitude

This sermon is presented online in s5 format. What you will see in a modern, standards-compliant browser is formatted to be used as overhead slides. The printed version of the presentation has been styled to look good on a portrait 8.5 x 11″page and includes additional content not displayed on the slides.

Dont Eat Moldy Bread

August 17th, 2005

In John 1:1 we read “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” and in verse 14 of the same chapter “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

As is very clear from these verses, God himself is the Word and not only this, but Jesus is the Word as well, for there is only one begotten son of God and verse 14 can speak of no other.

In chapter 6 of John the crowd who had followed Jesus across the sea in search of another meal and asked him for a sign like the manna their ancestors had eaten in the desert. He replied in verses 32-35 “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

Jesus has declared himself the bread of life. In the first passage John declared that Jesus was the Word made flesh. By the commutative principle of logic that states that two things equal to a third thing equal each other (that is if a=b and b=c, then a=c), we can then say that the Word of God is also the bread of life.

The Word is spiritual bread that should be sustenance to our souls.

Indeed, Jesus himself tells us in Matthew chapter 4 verse 4 “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” and Jeremiah also says the Word is to nourish us in chapter 15 verse 16 “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.”

When a man preaches the Word, he is said to be “breaking the bread of life to us”. That is, the preacher is serving a meal of food for the spirit.

Food for the body is perishable. Mold and decay make it inedible. If food corrupted in this way is eaten, it can make the body sick even to the point of death, therefore bread must be examined and checked for mold before it is eaten.

In a like manner spiritual food being broken by any man must be examined and tested before the spirit can be allowed to partake of it as nourishment for some would serve us moldy bread.

2 Timothy chapter 3 speaks of such people in verses 1-13 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters,proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was. 10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”

In verse 5 of this passage we read of men who have the form of godliness but deny it’s power. What is the power of godliness? As we see in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” the power of God is the gospel and the power of godliness then is the Word of God. These men of verse 5 are those who would break moldy bread to us!

They would serve us a meal of corrupted spiritual food. They would give us bread that looks good, but is harmful. They would preach to us what appears to be the Word of God, but is not.

As moldy material bread can kill the body, so moldy spiritual bread can kill the spirit. Therefore we must examine not only the material bread we give our bodies, we must also examine the spiritual bread that is broken to us. 1 John 4:1 makes this plain “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” These spirits are those who break the bread of life to us. We cannot accept the words of any person who claims to know the Word of God until we have tested the bread being broken against the true bread- the Word of God. We must examine the bread and we must reject moldy bread.

However just as the body needs fresh material bread, so the spirit must continue to partake of sound spiritual bread as is seen in 2 Tim 4:14-17 “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

And not only must we reject moldy bread and eat sound bread, but we must be bakers of sound bread and break it to all who would hear. We are called in 2 Timothy 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” to be bakers who bake true bread. We must take the ingredients from the Word and assemble them properly and in the right proportions into the bread of life which is the Word of God- that is the expression of the truths of God’s Word. But to bake the bread is not enough, for we must as we read in 2 Timothy 4:1-2 “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” be ready to break the bread of life to any and all who hunger at every opportunity.

Let us all behold that the bread of life that gives sustenance to the spirit is the Word of God. Let us also know that there are those who would serve us moldy bread and therefore we must test any spiritual food we are given. We must test it and reject what is moldy.

Let us also never forget that not only must we not cease in partaking of the true bread of life, but that we must become bakers of sound bread ready to break this bread to whoever needs spiritual nourishment.