Imitating Christ’s Love: Walking in Love Together
To be imitators of God means to reflect His character and love in our thoughts, words, and actions. It involves striving to live a life that mirrors the selfless and compassionate love demonstrated by Jesus during His time on earth. Furthermore, walking in love requires more than just words; it necessitates tangible actions that demonstrate Christ’s love to others. As we walk in love, we become channels through which God’s love flows into the world.
So, as we gather for worship today, let us open our hearts to receive God’s Word and be inspired to walk in love, imitating Christ’s love in all that we do. May our lives be a testimony to the transformative power of love, and may we continue to grow in our ability to love like Jesus.
Embracing the Agape Revolution: Love Like Jesus
This morning, we will continue our exploration of love in action as we dive into the profound characteristics of agape love outlined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. This passage beautifully illustrates the selfless and sacrificial nature of love, challenging us to embody these qualities in our relationships and interactions with others. Just as God has shown us immeasurable love and grace, we are called to extend the same love to those around us. Romans 12:9-10 urges us to “let love be genuine” and to “love one another with brotherly affection.”
In my message today, I want to encourage you to embrace the Agape Revolution, a revolutionary approach to love that mirrors the transformative love of Jesus Christ. Together, let us commit to living out this radical love in our daily lives, seeking to be vessels of God’s love and grace to a world in need.
Love Like Jesus Series Kickoff: “Love’s Origin”
In this first message, titled “Love’s Origin: He First Loved Us,” we delve into the heart of 1 John 4:19 a scripture that encapsulates the essence of our capacity to love. “We love because He (God) first loved us,” it declares—a powerful statement that lays the foundation for understanding the source of our ability to love. We will reflect on the transformative power inherent in receiving and reciprocating God’s love. My prayer is that we will not only grasp the origin of love but also actively cultivate a love that mirrors the selfless and transformative love demonstrated by our Lord.
Join us throughout this month as we embark on this journey to “Love Like Jesus,” discovering the profound truth that our ability to love finds its roots in the boundless love of our Heavenly Father.
Embracing the Dynamics: A Journey of Discipleship
This morning, we continue our exploration of our church theme for the year, “Discipleship 2024 Following His Footsteps.” Over the past month, we’ve delved into the profound concept of discipleship, recognizing that it extends beyond a mere life event or a label we wear. Instead, it’s a dynamic lifestyle of actively following Jesus.
In the preceding weeks, we’ve journeyed through the essential steps to become a committed disciple. Understanding that discipleship is not a one-time event, we’ve embraced the truth that it’s a lifelong pursuit—a transformative journey where we strive not only to like Jesus but, more importantly, to become like Him. It’s a continuous process, a daily transformation conforming us to His image (Romans 12:2).
In today’s message, we’ll explore “The Dynamics of Discipleship.” I am excited to share with you a simple, memorable, and shareable definition of what it truly means to be a disciple and the actions that define our journey. The promise of Jesus accompanies us on this discipleship adventure, assuring us that we are not alone—[Jesus promised] “…and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19b).
Join me as we unpack the dynamics of discipleship and discover the joy of following in His footsteps together.
Deep Sips of Discipleship
Last Sunday, I walked into the service with a fully prepared sermon. The outline was neatly printed in the bulletin, the slides were queued for projection, and I was ready to deliver what I believed was a comprehensive message on becoming committed disciples of Jesus. However, in the quiet moments of early morning reflection, the Lord impressed upon me the depth of the topic, urging me to allow the congregation to take deliberate and meaningful sips instead of attempting to drink from a fire hydrant.
So, this morning, we continue the journey we started last week. What began as a single sermon has evolved into a two-part series, providing us the opportunity to delve deeper into the profound concept of being fully committed disciples of Jesus. The decision to split the message is driven by a desire to savor the richness of each point, allowing us to reflect, absorb, and apply the principles of discipleship with greater intentionality.
King David wrote, “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways” (Psalm 119:15). As the country preacher would say, “Sometimes you need to take deep sips to truly appreciate the flavor.” This morning, we take another intentional sip, exploring the latter half of what it means to be a fully committed disciple of Jesus. Together, let’s journey into the Word and allow its transformative power to shape our lives.
Stepping into Discipleship: A Journey of Transformation
This morning, we continue in the exploration of our 2024 Church Theme: “Discipleship 2024: Following in His Footsteps.” Last week marked our entry into this theme, delving into the profound depth of discipleship. It’s not merely an event or a title but a transformative commitment that should permeate every facet of our lives. This morning, our journey takes us deeper as we seek to understand what it truly means to be a fully committed disciple of Jesus.
Discipleship is far from a passive endeavor; it demands deliberate and wholehearted commitment. As we open God’s Word this morning, we’ll seek the guidance of Scripture to comprehend the essence of being a disciple who walks in the footsteps of our Savior. Our focus will be on the radical concept of denying self, taking up our cross, and traversing the path that Jesus trod (Luke 9:23).
In the pursuit of discipleship, we’ll discover that it transcends conforming to the patterns of the world (Romans 12:1-2); it involves a radical transformation that unfolds when we surrender ourselves to Christ. This theme serves as a challenge, prompting us to scrutinize our priorities, relationships, and the very core of our being. Each step we take in following Jesus propels us closer to a life that mirrors His love, grace, and sacrificial service.
New Year, Same God
As we stand at the threshold of a new year, our hearts overflow with gratitude for the collective journey we’ve undertaken throughout 2023. This morning, a special service awaits us titled “New Year, Same God,” where the elders and I will lead you through a reflective exploration of our shared experiences in the past and the divine direction awaiting Ham Lane Church of Christ in 2024.
Together, let’s revel in the milestones, answered prayers, and God’s unwavering faithfulness of the past year. Seeking God’s guidance for 2024, we turn to Proverbs 3:5-6, urging us to trust in the Lord wholeheartedly. Stepping into the new year, let’s submit our plans to Him, trusting that He will direct our paths. Reflecting on our mission efforts in 2023, we’ll set our sights on continued service and outreach in the coming year. The importance of unity within our church family takes center stage, guided by Ephesians 4:3, reminding us to make every effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
As we conclude, we’ll delve into the vision and expectations for 2024, and I will be revealing our 2024 Church Theme. Let’s collectively lift our hearts in gratitude for the past and set our gaze with hope on the future. “New Year, Same God” – our constant guide and unwavering source of strength.
Embracing the Gift, Elevating Worship: Christmas Eve at HLCC
Welcome to Christmas at Ham Lane Church of Christ. As we gather on this special morning, the warmth of the season fills our hearts with joy and anticipation. Today, we come together to celebrate the birth of our Savior and to worship Jesus, our Immanuel. Additionally, we’ll bring our enlightening journey through the Christmas is… sermon series to a close. My prayer is that these messages have blessed you, guiding you to see that Christmas is more than mere celebrations, decorations, and gifts.
In the past weeks, we’ve uncovered the true essence of Christmas—the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. As John 3:16 beautifully declares, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.” This Christmas, we’ve embraced the reality that the greatest present isn’t under the tree but is the presence of Jesus in our lives. In today’s final installment, “Christmas is Worship,” we’ll unveil the profound connection between the gift God gave us and the gift we can offer in return—our worship. As we gather in unity to celebrate the birth of our Savior, let’s elevate our hearts in worship, expressing gratitude for the priceless gift of Jesus.
Thank you for joining us for a memorable Christmas Eve at HLCC, filled with joy, worship, and a sense of togetherness. May the peace of Christ envelop you and your loved ones during this festive season.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas,
“Christmas is Presence”
Greetings, Ham Lane family! Can you believe we are just one week away from Christmas Day? This is a time when the world shimmers with lights, carols and the songs of Christmas fill the air, and hearts turn toward the manger where a miracle unfolded. As we journey through our ‘Christmas is…’ sermon series, today marks Week 4 with a special focus on “Christmas is Presence.” Our exploration centers around the profound concept of God with us—Immanuel, as foretold in Isaiah 7:14 and fulfilled in Matthew 1:23. These verses remind us of the incredible truth that God chose to be present with humanity in the person of Jesus Christ.
In today’s message, we’ll delve into the significance of God’s presence over presents, emphasizing the transformative power of being fully present in our relationships. The holiday season often becomes a whirlwind of shopping, wrapping, and exchanging gifts. Still, today, let’s pause to reflect on the ultimate gift – God’s presence in our lives.
Being present with others holds immeasurable value, especially during this time of year. We’ll explore the impact of genuine connection and challenge ourselves to prioritize relationships over material possessions. As we unwrap the message of “Christmas is Presence,” let’s carry this spirit of presence beyond the holiday season, embracing the joy and transformation it brings to our lives.
Embracing the Heart of Christmas: Love Unveiled
As we continue our journey through the enriching Christmas sermon series, “Christmas is…,” this week’s exploration immerses us in the profound theme of love. Aptly titled “Christmas Is Love,” our Week 3 sermon delves into the very heart of the Christmas narrative, revealing the depth of God’s extraordinary love.
Our Scripture text, 1 John 4:7-17, beautifully articulates the essence of love. In today’s message, we’ll witness how the Christmas story becomes a powerful manifestation of God’s love for humanity. We’ll delve into the symbolism behind the act of giving and receiving gifts during this season, uncovering how it mirrors the ultimate gift bestowed upon us—Jesus Christ.
In a world often fixated on the material aspects of the holidays, we’ll collectively refocus on the genuine meaning of Christmas. The call to love one another takes center stage as we reflect on the selfless love God demonstrated through the incarnation. As we unwrap the layers of this message, we’ll discover how our expressions of love toward one another can authentically reflect the Christmas spirit and explore the transformative power of love within the Christmas narrative. Let’s embody this love in our interactions with others, making this Christmas season a celebration not only of the love born in a manger but also of the love that resonates continually in our lives.
Embracing the Humility of Christmas
Greetings, Church Family! This morning, we eagerly step into the second week of our latest Holiday Sermon Series, “Christmas Is…”. Last week, we delved into the profound and essential Biblical truth encapsulated in the concept of the Incarnation, affirming that Christmas is more than a historical event; it is the remarkable revelation that God, in His infinite love and grace, chose to take on human flesh. Today’s focus lands on a central theme— “Christmas Is Humility.” Our guiding Scripture, Philippians 2:5-8, invites believers to adopt the mindset of Christ Jesus, capturing the profound humility displayed as He entered the world not as a mighty ruler but in the humble form of a servant.
In this second message, “Christmas Is Humility,” we will together unpack the transformative impact of Christ’s humility on our understanding of the Christmas season. We will delve into the quiet, humble moments that echo the heart of Christ, emphasizing that the true joy of Christmas transcends the typical grandeur and extravagance of this season. I want us to reflect on how embracing humility can reshape not only our perception of Christmas but also our year-round relationships and interactions. Let Christ’s example guide us to embody humility in our attitudes, actions, and relationships, fostering a spirit that extends far beyond the holiday season.
Embrace the True Essence of Christmas
As the joyous holiday season is upon us, I am thrilled to announce our new Christmas sermon series: “Christmas Is…” In the midst of the festive lights, carols, and joyful celebrations, it’s easy to lose sight of the profound message at the heart of Christmas. This series aims to rekindle the true spirit of the season and redirect our focus to the core of the Christmas story. “Christmas Is…” challenges us to peel back the layers of tradition and rediscover the essence of this special time. Each week, we will delve into different facets of the Christmas narrative, exploring the significance of the Incarnation—the divine becoming human.
Our journey kicks off this morning with “Christmas Is Incarnation,” unraveling the profound truth of God becoming flesh. In the prologue to John’s Gospel, we learn “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Subsequent messages explore themes like humility, love, presence, and worship, weaving together the rich tapestry of the Christmas narrative. Let’s embark on this Christmas adventure together, seeking a renewed understanding of why “Christmas Is…” and allowing the true meaning of the season to resonate in our hearts. Join us in anticipation and celebration as we unwrap the gift of Christ’s presence among us.
The Power of Gratitude: Living Out God’s Will
As we gather this Sunday before Thanksgiving, we reflect on the profound truth that gratitude is not merely reserved for a Thursday in November but is a transformative way of living that can impact both our physical and spiritual well-being. In my sermon this morning, we delve into a message I am calling, “The Power of Gratitude: Living Out God’s Will,” inspired by 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
In a world often filled with challenges, God calls us to embrace a life of gratitude, not just as a fleeting emotion but as a continual response to His goodness. I want you to know that gratitude is not only a healthy practice for our bodies but an essential aspect of God’s will for our lives.
This morning as we have gathered in worship, let’s explore the Scriptures, and open our hearts to the transformative power of gratitude. As we express thankfulness, may we honor God, strengthen fellowship, develop our faith, witness to unbelievers, and live out Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Let’s make gratitude a lifestyle that goes beyond the Thanksgiving season.
Sunday November 12th 2023
“Nurturing Faithful Growth: The Power of Pruning”
This morning, we come to the conclusion of our transformative sermon series, “Leaves of Faith: Growing Together as a Family.” In this final message, we will explore the essential concept of pruning for growth, acknowledging the challenges and setbacks we face as opportunities for spiritual development. Our focus text from John 15:1-5 emphasizes the profound significance of remaining connected to Christ, the true vine, to bear the abundant fruit of our faith. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (vs. 5).
Throughout these past four weeks, our fall focus on the family has unveiled practical ways to cultivate a thriving legacy of faith within our homes and community. As we conclude this series, let’s rejoice in the Holy Spirit’s work in producing the fruits of faithfulness in our families. May this series serve as an ongoing inspiration to fortify our spiritual foundations and nurture a lasting legacy for the generations to come.
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for next Sunday’s special Thanksgiving message, where we’ll take time to reflect on and express gratitude for the many blessings we’ve received. I encourage you to make plans to join us and extend the invitation to your family and friends as well.
Sunday November 5th 2023
The Family Tree of Faith
Last Sunday, we came together as a community to mourn the loss of a dear young member of our church family. As we continue to hold his family in our prayers, we are grateful for the comfort and support we’ve been able to provide one another during this challenging time.
This morning, we return to our Fall Focus on the Family sermon series, “Leaves of Faith: Growing Together as a Family.” We’ll pick up where we left off with the third installment, “The Family Tree of Faith.” In this message, we will explore the significant impact of passing down a strong and enduring spiritual legacy to future generations.
Drawing inspiration from the Apostle Paul’s second letter to Timothy, we’ll reflect on the powerful influence of family on Timothy’s sincere faith, rooted in the legacy of his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5). Our exploration will lead us to understand the importance of prioritizing our faith, living it out authentically, sharing personal faith stories, and establishing meaningful faith traditions within our homes and our community.
I invite you to follow along with the sermon outline as we dive into the enriching wisdom of Scripture and uncover practical ways to strengthen our spiritual heritage. May this time of reflection and study equip us to build a lasting spiritual foundation that remains firmly anchored in the unwavering love and grace of our Lord.
The 5th Annual Walk4Water Sunday
Welcome to our 5th Annual Walk4Water (W4W) Sunday at Ham Lane Church. Our event yesterday saw a fantastic turnout, with dedicated walkers raising awareness and funds to partner with Healing Hands International (HHI) in building wells in needy countries. As we reflect on this, remember the words of Jesus: “if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward” (Matthew 10:42).
Today, we conclude our 2-part sermon series, “Water Changes Everything,” with a special message titled “Agents of Change: Water for Life.” Sean Judge from HHI joins me in tag-teaming this sermon. We’ll delve into our responsibility to care for the marginalized, especially in water-related initiatives. Our sermon underscores compassion, active participation, and the concept of providing spiritual refreshment to others. We pray this inspires you to engage in water-related projects and consider the ripple effect of your actions in creating positive change.
Looking ahead, next week marks the start of a new fall sermon series, “Leaves of Faith: Growing Together as a Family.” Join us as we explore the intricate tapestry of faith within our families, deepening our connections with God and one another. Just as leaves are vital to a tree’s growth, our faith plays a crucial role in the life and growth of our families. Let’s focus on the family this fall and journey together.
September 24 2023
Walking for Water: Transforming Lives and Building the Kingdom
I am very excited about our upcoming 5th Annual Walk4Water Event, taking place on Saturday, October 7th, 2023! This wonderful occasion is not only an opportunity for us to come together in fellowship but also to make a significant impact in the lives of others. Our Walk4Water Event symbolizes something profound – the transformation that water brings. It reminds us of the physical and spiritual thirst that we all experience. Just as clean water quenches our bodies, the living water of Christ satisfies our souls.
To set the stage for this important event, I am planning a special two-part sermon series titled “Water Changes Everything.”
Part 1: “Physical & Spiritual Thirst”
Next Sunday, we’ll dive into the theme of how water symbolizes both physical and spiritual transformation. We’ll explore how Christ quenches our deepest spiritual thirst.
But the excitement doesn’t end there. On our Walk4Water Sunday, October 8th, 2023,
Sean Judge and I will tag-team to bring you Part 2: “Agents of Change: Water for Life.”
This message will emphasize the Biblical call to care for the marginalized and the poor. We’ll delve into how we, as Kingdom Builders, can share the “living water” of Christ (John 14:14) with those in need. Our faith calls us to make a difference, and this sermon will show us the way.
As we gear up for the Walk4Water Event, let’s unite in prayer, sign up, and get excited! Let’s make this year’s event a resounding success, touching lives and building God’s Kingdom here on Earth.
September 17 2023
Discover the Healing Friendship of Jesus
Welcome to our BF2C (Bring a Friend to Church) Sunday! Today, we celebrate God’s love and share His message of healing friendship with you our our friends and neighbors.
This morning we are in Week 3 of our series, “The Gift of Friendship: Understanding Jesus’ Role in Our Lives,” where we have been exploring Jesus’ transformative friendship. Jesus Himself declared, “I have called you friends” (John 15:15). My message today, “The Friendship that Heals,” centers on a powerful moment when Jesus dined with tax collectors and sinners. In response to criticism, He said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17, NIV).
In this passage, Jesus, the Great Physician, reaches out to those in need of His healing touch. We’ll delve into His compassion, forgiveness, and transformation, seen in His friendship with Levi, a tax collector and sinner.
If you were brought here today by a friend, we want you to know you are our honored guests. We invite you to experience Jesus’ healing friendship and welcoming you into our church family. Prepare your hearts to receive God’s word and experience the transformative power of Jesus’ friendship. He desires to extend His healing friendship to you today.
September 10 2023
Deepening Our Friendship with Jesus
We’ve embarked on a transformative sermon series, “The Gift of Friendship: Understanding Jesus’ Role in Our Lives.” Last week, we discovered how Jesus initiates our friendship. Today, in Lesson 2, we’ll dive into the depths of authentic friendship with our Savior.
Our text, Proverbs 18:24, unveils the profound nature of our relationship with Christ: “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Genuine friendship transcends superficiality; it’s about depth, loyalty, and trust. Many of us have known friends who are present in good times but vanish in adversity. Yet, Proverbs introduces us to a friend who remains steadfast, closer than a brother – Jesus.
In today’s message, we’ll explore the characteristics of an authentic friendship with Jesus: His unwavering faithfulness, His ever-present closeness, and His profound understanding of our hearts. Just as Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 reminds us, Christ reaches out His hand to lift us during trials. His love isn’t conditional; it’s the love that sacrificed for us (Romans 5:8). In adversity, a true friend stands by our side, and Christ is the Friend who loves us at all times (Proverbs 17:17).
In Christ’s friendship, we find joy and transformation. Embrace this gift of authentic friendship and allow it to shape your life.
September 3 2023
Embracing Friendship: Exploring Jesus’ Role in Our Lives
It brings me immense joy to welcome each of you to our gathering this morning. As we embark on this new season, I am excited to introduce our upcoming sermon series titled “The Gift of Friendship: Understanding Jesus’ Role in Our Lives.” This series is a journey into the depths of the profound friendship that Jesus offers us.
In our first message, titled “Jesus The Initiator of Our Friendship,” we will explore the powerful truth found in John 15:9-15. This passage reminds us of Jesus’ remarkable initiative in calling us His friends. His love and desire for a personal, meaningful relationship with each of us go beyond what we can fathom. As we dive into this message, may our hearts be stirred to recognize and embrace this incredible invitation to walk in companionship with our Savior.
I also want to remind you of our upcoming annual BF2C (“Bring a Friend to Church”) Sunday, which will take place on September 17th. This sermon series is thoughtfully designed to lead us to that special day. As we delve deeper into the theme of friendship with Jesus, I encourage you to begin praying over who you might invite to join us on this meaningful occasion.
Let us come together in worship, open our hearts to God’s word, and allow His truth to transform our lives. I look forward to journeying alongside each one of you during this series and beyond.
Grace and peace,
August 27 2023
Experience the Gift of Friendship: Exploring Jesus’ Role in Our Lives
I am excited to announce our upcoming September sermon series, “The Gift of Friendship: Understanding Jesus’ Role in Our Lives.” This engaging 4-part series will provide profound insights into the unique relationship we share with Jesus and how His friendship shapes our journey of faith.
Week 1: “The Initiation of Friendship” In the first week, we’ll dive into the loving initiative Jesus takes to be our friend. Through John 15:15, we’ll uncover how Jesus transforms the way we perceive our relationship with Him. Week 2: “The Depth of Authentic Friendship” Discover the characteristics of an authentic friendship with Jesus as we explore Proverbs 18:24. Week 3: “The Friendship that Heals” Explore the healing and restoration brought by Jesus’ friendship, as illustrated in Mark 2:17. This will also be our BF2C Sunday. Then, Week 4: “The Journey of Mutual Friendship” In the final week, we’ll discuss the mutual journey of growth and transformation in our friendship with Jesus. Romans 8:29 will guide us as we understand how walking with Him aligns us with His purpose and shapes us to become more like Him.
Join us for this enriching series starting in September. Come prepared to be inspired, challenged, and uplifted as we unpack the extraordinary gift of friendship that Jesus extends to each of us. This series is not just about understanding; it’s about experiencing the depth of relationship that only Christ can provide. Mark your calendars and invite friends and family to join us on this profound journey.
August 20 2023
Inviting Others to Build the Kingdom: BF2 Sunday!
We are just a few weeks away from our annual Bring a Friend to Church (BF2C) Sunday on September 17, 2023. This is the same date as the National Back to Church Sunday. This convergence of events presents a unique chance for us to share the love of Christ and extend an invitation to those around us. Think back to the journey that brought you to the Lord’s embrace. For many of us, it was an invitation from a friend, a family member, or a kind acquaintance that led us to this faith-filled community.
Our theme this year is “Kingdom Builders,” a reminder that each of us has a unique role in advancing the Kingdom of God here on earth. One of the most powerful ways we can do this is by participating in BF2C Sunday. Inviting someone to church is a simple yet impactful way of living out our G.O.O.D mission: Love God, Love One Another, Love Others, and Make Disciples.
Let us be guided by the words of Jesus: “Come and see.” (John 1:46). Let us prayerfully plan and consider who we can invite to experience the transforming love of Christ within our church family. Through our acts of invitation, we become co-workers with God in building His Kingdom here on earth.
August 6 2023
The Sacred Waters of Baptism
I am thrilled to embark on this transformative series of sermons centered around the profound topic of Baptism. In our first message, titled “The Sacred Waters: Unveiling the Who, What, and Why of Baptism,” we will journey deeper into the heart of this holy ordinance and uncover its central role in our Christian faith. Our exploration will begin by unraveling the “who” of baptism, discovering that it is a universal call for all nations, open to all who come in faith and repentance. The “what” of baptism, realizing that it goes beyond a mere symbolic ritual but becomes a transformative experience that identifies us with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. And we will investigate the “why” of baptism, understanding how it symbolizes the cleansing of our sins through the sacrificial love of Jesus.
To make this series unique and impactful, I have intentionally crafted it to be an in-depth Bible study, aimed at empowering and encouraging every member of our congregation. Whether you have been baptized or not, my desire is to ignite a passionate understanding of the profound significance of baptism. Together, we will explore the rich spiritual truths found within the Scriptures, inspiring those who have not yet been baptized to take this significant step of faith. For those who have already been baptized, this series will serve as a reminder and strengthening of your commitment, firmly grounding you in the powerful covenant that baptism represents. With the Holy Spirit as our guide, let us embark on this journey of exploration into the depths of baptism.
July 30 2023
Diving Deeper: Exploring The Depths of Baptism
Have you ever wondered about the true essence of baptism? Are you seeking a deeper understanding of this sacred act that holds immense significance in the Christian faith? I want to invite you to join us for a special four-part sermon series titled “Diving Deeper: Exploring The Depths of Baptism.” The Bible teaches that we are buried with Christ through baptism and raised to walk in the newness of life (Romans 6:4). Throughout the month of August, we will uncover the foundational aspects of baptism, delving into the biblical truths surrounding its origin, purpose, and importance in our spiritual journey. We will see that it is much more than just getting dunked, moving beyond the mere physical act of baptism and seeing the spiritual significance behind being submerged in water. Discover how baptism symbolizes the death and resurrection of Christ and its profound impact on our lives.
If you or someone you know have ever questioned the necessity of baptism in your faith walk, we will explore the scriptural reasons for being baptized and how it marks the beginning of a lifelong commitment to follow Christ. We will delve into the blessings and responsibilities that come with baptism. Understand how baptism equips us to live a transformed life and empowers us to serve God and others wholeheartedly. Whether you have not yet been baptized or have already experienced this sacred act, these messages are designed to challenge, encourage, and equip you in your walk with Christ.
July 23, 2023
Christmas in July
It’s only 155 days until Christmas 2023. That may seem a long way away, but as you all well know, it will be here before we know it. However, Christmas doesn’t have to come but once a year. Have you ever seen a “Christmas in July” sale at a store or online? Or maybe a
Christmas in July celebration, event, or party? I did a little research and according to legend, Christmas in July was first celebrated at a summer camp in 1933, when Keystone Camp in Brevard, N.C. decided to dedicate two days (July 24 & 25) to the holiday – complete with cotton fake snow, a decked-out tree, a gift exchange, and, of course, Santa. In the 1940s, a movie entitled “Christmas in July” premiered in theaters and by the 1950s, retailers started offering Christmas in July sales. According to Forbes, Amazon’s Christmas in July sales (AKA “Prime Days”) generated $11.9 billion in sales in 2022. I like the idea of Christmas in July, but then again, I celebrate Half-Way to St Paddy’s Day in September.
Well, I think we can have Christmas in July here too. Although we may not want to do fake snow and it’s too hot for my Santa suit; Next Sunday, July 30th, 2023, we are planning a special Christmas in July service here at HLCC. We will sing the carols associated with the
Christmas Season and I will be sharing a special message on the importance and impact the birth of Jesus our Savior had on our world some 2000 years ago and still today. So, let me be the first to invite you to Christmas in July and why not invite and bring a friend?
July 16, 2023
Reaching The Nations
One of the last commands of Jesus, after His resurrection and before His ascension, was to “Go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone” (Mark 16:15, NCV). Of course, we refer to this command of our Lord as “The Great Commission” (also found in Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:44-49; John 20:19-23; and in Acts 1:8). Jesus’ Words in the Great Commission reveal the heart of our Great God, who desires “all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). We are commanded and compelled to share the Good News about Jesus until everyone has heard. We called to be Kingdom Builders – partnering with God in the building of His Kingdom, making disciples of all Nations.
Last week, we saw this here in a very practical way, as we heard from our missionary in residence in the Philippines, Daniel Elamparo Jr. and his family who are visiting with us. You will be hearing from Daniel again this morning and if you missed his message last week, you could find it online. Also, this past week was our VBS. More than 50 children were here in attendance throughout the week and the Good News about God’s Kingdom
was shared and we pray planted in their hearts. I want to express my gratitude to all of you who volunteered your time and worked so hard to make our VBS such a success. This morning, we will continue our focus on missions, our commission to reach the Nations and to build The Kingdom with a special message I have written from Psalm 67 that I am calling “May The Nations be Glad.”
July 9, 2023
This morning is our Missions Sunday. Although we have not been consistent on when we do it, we have for several years now had a Sunday that we focus on the missions efforts we support within our city, country and beyond. This morning, we are blessed to have Daniel Elamparo and his family visiting with us from the Philippines. Daniel is the main missionary that we support in the Philippines and he has oversight of several other missionaries and four different congregations of the Lord’s Church on his island. Daniel will be sharing some updates on Kingdom work happening in the Philippines and sharing a powerful message on “The Great Commission” from Matthew 28.
Christian Missions is more than just sending a missionary into a foreign land. It is more than just supporting preaching in other countries. Christian missions is following Christ’s call to share the Gospel with the lost world through God’s wisdom and strength. We are all called to be Christian Missionaries in our cities, at our jobs, schools, and sometimes even within our own family and homes. Christian Missions is sharing Christ and relying on Christ. Sharing the Gospel humbly, boldly, and passionately is our Christian Mission! You don’t have to cross the sea to be a missionary; you just have to see the cross!
July 2, 2023
The Nation God Blesses
The 4th of July Holiday is upon us. A time for food, fun, and family. A time of cookouts and fireworks. A time that we celebrate the birth of this great nation. We are living in a time that it is becoming increasingly more popular to disparage our nation rather than
celebrate our independence. Patriotism has become passe these days. Some Christian leaders in the church have even suggested that any kind of patriotic expression in a church service is inappropriate. Even to go as far as to say it’s blasphemous to suggest that one can have a love for both God and country. So, this morning, the Lord has laid upon my heart to share with you a message from Psalm 33on what it means to be a Nation that the Lord blesses.
The Bible proclaims that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance” (Psalm 33:12). I want you to know the nation God blesses is not because of its power, but its prayer. Not because of its commerce, but its character. Not its
advanced technology, but its trust in God. The nation God blesses is a nation that fears the Lord, not man. On this 4th of July and each and every day, I want to live in a nation that God blesses. So, in my message this morning, I want to share with you just a few Biblical
principles of what it means to be a nation God blesses.
June 25, 2025
Loving Both God & Country
Good morning Church. As most of you know, I am attending a church conference in Ohio this weekend and this morning I am preaching for the Stop 9 Church of Christ, the congregation where Christine and I both attended in our youth. I will be sure to share your greetings to the family of God there. Chuck Thurman will be sharing a message from God’s Word with you this morning in my absence. I pray that you will receive him well and show him the great love you all have for God and for God’s people.
Next week, I will share a very special stand-alone sermon that I am preparing for the 4th of July Holiday. When I joined the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps, I learned the Chaplain Corp motto of “PRO DEO ET PATRIA” which means “For God and Country.” I chose to become a US Army Chaplain because of my love for both God and country. However, we are living in a time where it is becoming increasingly popular in our culture to critique and degrade our country, even within the Christian Church. There are those who want to deny our founding roots in the belief of “In God We Trust.” The promise of the Bible is “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD” (Psalm 33:12). Historically, the U.S. was most certainly founded on “Christian” principles. However, culturally, the U.S. today is not “Christian” in terms of current attitudes and behaviors. So, next Sunday, Iwant to share with you why I believe it is not only possible, but both good, and right to have a love for both God and our country and the importance of living out our belief that it is in God and God alone we trust. So, I hope you will make plans to join me here next Sunday.
June 16, 2023
The Measure of a Man
Steve Martin said, “By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” I think all fathers can relate to that quote. Happy Father’s Day to all our dads here today. This morning I am sharing a special message
that I have entitled, “The Measure of a Man’s Heart.” I wrote this message with our fathers in mind but also all men who can serve as spiritual father figures. There are a lot of different ways the world measures what a man is or what a father should be, but we ought to be more concerned with what the Lord says about the measure of a man.
In the Old Testament, the Lord commissions Samuel to anoint the next king of Israel to replace King Saul. He was sent to the house of Jesse and when Samuel saw Jesse’s oldest son, Eliab, he was impressed with what he saw. “Surely, this is the man the Lord wants me to anoint,” thought the prophet (1 Samuel 16:6). But God told Samuel, “Don’t look at his appearance or how tall he is, because I have rejected him. God does not see as humans see.
Humans look at outward appearances, but the LORD looks into the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, GWT). David, the youngest son, ended up being God’s choice – he was imperfect but faithful, he was a man after God’s heart. God does not judge the way the world judges – the Lord measures the heart of man.
June 11, 2023
In The Body of Christ
This morning, I am concluding our series “Belonging to The Body of Christ.” Throughout these past 2 months, we have spent some time in God’s Word, looking at what it means to be the Body of Christ as a church family here at HLCC. We have seen that when we are baptized into Christ, we are added to the Body of Christ universally with all other baptized believers (Acts 2:38-47). We have seen that you are a necessary part of the Body of Christ
(1 Corinthians 12:27). We have seen that we are called to be devoted to Christ and to one another. We are to be united and called to serve in the Body of Christ. Today, I will conclude these messages with a practical call to commitment to the Body of Christ.
There are so many benefits to being in the Body of Christ – the Bible teaches that in Christ we have been given grace (2 Timothy 1:9). In Christ, we were chosen by God (Ephesians 1:4). In Christ, we are loved by God (Romans 8:38-39). In Christ, we have redemption and
forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7). In Christ we are justified and receive the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). In Christ, we have become a new creation and are a son / daughter of God (2 Corinthians 5:17). We should never grow weary of exploring and exulting the inexhaustible privilege of being in and belonging to the Body of Christ.
June 4, 2023
Testifying to The Nations
Today is the 1st Sunday of June and we are now in the 6th month of 2023 and just 6 more months away from 2024. Therefore, I felt this would be a good space and time for me to remind you of our 2023 Church Theme: “KINGDOM BUILDERS. TESTIFYING TO THE NATIONS.” Throughout this year, we have focused on what it means to participate and partner with God in the building of His Kingdom here on Earth. Our theme Scripture comes from Matthew 24:14 which states, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” The Kingdom of God is anywhere God reigns supreme, and Jesus is King! As citizens of His Kingdom, we recognize God’s authority over all and strived to obey His will for our lives. You see, God’s Kingdom is not one of space, territory, or politics, as in a national kingdom, but rather one of Jesus’ Kingly rule, reign, and sovereign control over all! God’s desire is that none should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). In testifying to His Kingdom, we are sharing the Good News of Salvation in His Kingdom.
For the next 6 months, my messages will continue to focus on this theme of being Kingdom Builders. Next month, we will spend some time talking about the importance of world missions and the efforts of the Kingdom building in which we partner with those we support in the Philippines. Daniel Elamparo and his family will be here with us in July to express his gratitude in the gracious support we provide and give us some updates on the important Kingdom work taking place in the Philippines.
May 28, 2023
A Memorial To Remember
Every last Monday in May, we observe a sacred holiday in this country. Memorial Day started after the Civil War to remember the fallen soldiers that gave their lives for their country. Today, we remember all of the soldiers that gave their lives for this country. It doesn’t matter what war or time period. I am so thankful for the men and women who have given their lives so that you and I can have our freedom. Their sacrifice was selfless, brave, and honorable. Tomorrow we will remember all of the fallen soldiers in America’s history. It’s a special day. It’s a solemn day. It’s a day to remember all of the blessings we have.
We are blessed to partake in an even greater memorial this Sunday and every Sunday– a memorial to the One who died for all. When we commune together with the Lord’s Supper, we are remembering His death on the cross. The bread we break reminds us that His body was broken and the juice we drink reminds us His blood was shed. We remember that it is “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance
with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7).
I am so thankful for the men and women who have died in service to this country. These are those who Jesus spoke of when He said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). I hope that tomorrow you will take time to remember. But I am even more thankful for our Savior who gave His life for us. I am thankful for the freedom we have this morning to meet, worship and remember Him.
May 21, 2023
Unity in The Body of Christ
The Apostle Paul wrote that “we make it our goal to please Him” (2 Corinthians 5:9), that we should strive to “please Him in every way” (Colossians 1:10) and that we must “find out what pleases the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10). The writer of Hebrews warns us that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (11:6). As children of God, we should have a desire to want to please our Heavenly Father and one way the Bible teaches we can please God is when we, as the Body of Christ, strive for unity in the Body of Christ. King David
was inspired to write, “How good and pleasant it is when God’speople live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).
This morning, we are jumping back into our sermon series, “Belonging to the Body of Christ.” In this 4th message, I want to share with you some Biblical truths as to what it means to have unity in The Body of Christ. Belonging to the Body of Christ means all believers in Christ are united in Christ in a special relationship that unites us not only with Him but with every other believer. We are commanded to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). Today, I will be sharing with you some practical ways we can keep the unity we are commanded to have in the Body of Christ.
May 14, 2023
Mothers of Faith Reflect the Love of God
Happy Mother’s Day! This is my 12th year celebrating Mother’s Day here at HLCC and it is one of my favorite services we get to do each year. I believe it is good and appropriate to honor our mothers here this morning because in honoring our mothers, we honor the One who created them – our Heavenly Father. There is an old Jewish Proverbs that says, “God could not be everywhere and so He created mothers.”
Although we know that God is everywhere at all times in His great omnipresence; we understand the sentiment of the proverb. Thank God for our mothers. I know that we did not all have good mothers and for many of us, our mothers have gone on to be with the Lord, but I am so thankful that as a church family, we can honor the mothers of faith
with us here this morning.
In my message today, I want to share with you how mothers of faith reflect God’s love here on Earth. Now, there are no perfect mothers, but a mother’s love doesn’t have to be perfect to be divine. There may be no perfect mothers but there are ways to be a good and faithful
mother. I would contend that there is no love on Earth that comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love of a devoted and faithful mother. God’s promise in His Word tous is, “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13).
C h a d
May 7, 2023
The “One Another” Commands of the Bible
This morning, I am preaching the 3rd message in our new series, “Belonging to the Body of Christ.” Last week, we saw that belonging to the Body of Christ calls for a commitment to the body of Christ, to one another, and to a ministry of service. Today, I want to go a little deeper and look at what it means to be devoted to one another in thebody of Christ.
There are close to 60 verses in the New Testament that command us to “do” something towards one another. They are actions that we should do out of an overflow of our commitment to Jesus and to one another. Belonging to the Body of Christ means that we are devoted to one another and one way that we show we belong to thebody of Christ is by obeying the “one another” commands. Love one another. Bear one another’s burdens. Forgive one another. There are a lot of these “one another” commands. We show our commitmentto Christ and to one another by “one-anothering” one another (say that 3 times really fast). So, let’s spend some time in worship and encouraging one another today and let’s hear what God has to say from His Word about being devoted to one another in the Body of Christ.
April 30, 2023
A Call to Commitment in the Body of Christ.
Last week, I began a new sermon series that will lead us into the summer that I am calling “Belonging to The Body of Christ.” The Church of Christ is the Body of Christ and is composed of all baptized believers and Jesus followers all over the world (Romans 12:5). The Ham Lane church of Christ is a local body that strives to be a microcosm of the Universal Body of Christ. All who have truly surrendered their lives to Jesus as both Lord and Savior, have had their names written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 20:12). When we are saved, the Lord adds us to The Body of Christ in the universal sense (Acts 2:47). However, becoming a member of a local church, a local body of believers and the family of God, is a commitment that you must make.
In my message this morning, we will spend some time looking at this commitment. What does it mean to commit to the Body of Christ? Many will mistake involvement for commitment. The call to commit to the Body of Christ is much more than just involvement. Commitment requires a sincere dedication to the Lord, to the Lord’s people, and to the ministry to which the Lord has called you. Commitment in the Body of
Christ may require you to leave your comfort zone. The good news is that you are not in this alone – we are in this together. So, open your mind, open your Bible, use the outline in the bulletin to help follow along, and let’s look at this call to the commitment we have in the Body of Christ.
April 23, 2023
The Body of Christ
This morning I am beginning a new sermon series that I am calling “Belonging to The Body of Christ.” In the Bible, the Body of Christ is a term with 3 different but related meanings. One, it can describe the physical body Jesus took on in the incarnation, when God became flesh (Matthew 1:23). Two, it is a term for the unleavened bread used by Jesus when He instituted the observance of the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19). Three, the Body of Christ refers to the Christian Church all over the world (1 Corinthians 12:27). In the Bible, the Church is often called “The Body of Christ.” What Jesus did in His physical body, He now wants His followers to continue to do today as the Church. This will be the focus of our study these next few weeks – We are the body of Christ here on Earth. In this first lesson, I want you to see that you are needed in the Body of Christ. The Bible says, “Just as there are many parts to our bodies, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of it, and
it takes every one of us to make it complete, for we each have different work to do. So we belong to each other, and each needs all the others” (Romans 12:4-5, TLB). Everyone is needed in the Body of Christ. It takes every one of us to make it complete.
April 16, 2023
Being The Hands & Feet of Jesus
In 1999, the Christian Band Audio Adrenaline released a song entitled “Hands and Feet.” The song describes the tension that followers of Jesus go through when they see people hurting and in need but not sure what they can do or even more often do not have strength to do what they know they should do. But you can find strength when your prayer to the Lord is, “I want to be Your hands. I want to be Your feet. I’ll go where You send me.” What does it mean to be the hands and feet of Jesus? This morning, I hope to answer that question in this special stand-alone sermon that I am simply calling “Hands & Feet.” Hands give and serve; feet move and go. The Scriptures teach us that Jesus “did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45) and reminds us, as His followers, that He has set for us and example that we should do as He has done for us (John 11:15). After the resurrection, Jesus remained on the earth in body for 40 more days before ascending to sit at the right hand of God. However, the Holy Spirit remains with us and today the church is the body of Christ on earth (1 Corinthians 12:27). You are to be His hands and His feet. To go and to serve in Jesus’ Name. This morning, I will also be sharing with you about Love Lodi. On Saturday 4/29/2023, you have a perfect opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus by going and serving our community. To learn more, sign-up to volunteer for and/ or submit a project – go to LoveLodi.org.
April 9, 2023
The Most Important Event in History
History was my favorite subject in school. I always viewed it as a storytelling time. However, the story of history has the power to shape our lives and the society in which we live. The way we understand and apply the events and lessons of history impacts every aspect of our lives. There are some events in history that are so important they have forever impacted and transformed our world. Some examples that may come to mind for many are events like the Black Death of the 1300s, the Fall of Constantinople or the invention of the Gutenberg Printing Press in the 1400s, the Protestant Reformation in the years 1517-1750, our own Civil War in the 1800s, and there are many more we could list. However, the most important event in history, for we who believe, is the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
The way our Lord Jesus came into this world and the way He left it was pretty amazing. The miracles He performed were signs that He was God in the flesh dwelling among us. His teachings still impact and influence our world today. However, the resurrection of Jesus Christ stands above all other miracles and is the most important event in history! The resurrection was necessary (Acts 2:23-25): it fulfilled Old Testament prophecy (Psalm 16:10); it showed Jesus’ Words to be true (John 2:19-22); it demonstrated His authority (John 10:17-18); it completed Jesus’ mission (Revelation 1:17-18); it is needed for our salvation (2 Corinthians 5:21) and it is the reason we too will one day experience a bodily resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20-22). This morning we celebrate and remember the most important event in history – The Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus!
April 2, 2023
The Most Important Week in History
I enjoy the “On This Day in History” segments that remind us of important and significant events from the past. Well, today begins the most important and significant week in all of history. Some call it “Holy Week” or “Passion Week.” Others just refer to it as “The Last Week of Jesus’ Life.” It’s the 8 days of Jesus’ life beginning with His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (which is today) and ending with His resurrection on Easter Sunday (which is next week). I want to encourage you this week to read through the Scriptures detailing this week in the life of our Lord. All 8 days are described with great detail in all four of the Gospel accounts: Matthew chapters 21-27; Mark chapters 11-15; Luke chapters 19-23; and John chapters 12-19. There are also some very well-done reading plans on the YouVersion Bible App. The one I chose to read this year is called “Easter Explained: An 8-Day Guide to Celebrating Holy Week.”
This morning I will be sharing the first of a two-part Easter Sermon Series that I am calling “Journey to the Cross.” Today we will look at the events of that first Palm Sunday when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It was on this day some 2,000 years ago that Jesus neared the culmination of His long journey to the cross. He had come to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10) and now was the time – this was the place – to secure that salvation. This morning, let us join in with other Jesus followers around the world past, present, and future in proclaiming, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the
name of the Lord!”“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
March 26, 2023
The Lord’s Prayer Doxology
This morning I am concluding our series on the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew chapter 6 by looking at the doxology, “For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power and the glory for ever. Amen” (6:13b, KJV). This was most likely not original to Matthew but was later added to the manuscripts around 130AD. The dictionary defines doxology as “an expression of praise to God, especially a short hymn sung as a part of a Christians worship service.” The word itself comes from two Greek words: doxa (“glory, splendor, grandeur”) and logos (“word” or “speaking”). There are many examples of doxologies in the Bible (Romans 8:38-39, 11:33,36, 16:5-6, 13; 1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Corinthians 13:11,14; Galatians 6:18;
Ephesians 3:17-21, 6:23-24; Philippians 4:7; 1 Timothy 6:15-16; Jude 24-25; Revelation 5:12-13, 22:20-21, and many more I could list).
Even if this doxology was not a part of Jesus’ original teaching in Matthew 6, the phrase itself is from Scripture found in a prayer of King David: “O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever and ever! Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things” (1 Chronicles 29:10- 11, NLT). So, in this final message, we will look at the Who, What, How, and Why of The Lord’s Prayer Doxology.
March 19, 2023
Stay Away From Them Places
On the old TV show “Hee Haw,” Doc Campbell is confronted by a
patient who says he broke his arm in two places. The doc replies,
“Well then, stay out of them places!”
He may have something there. We cannot regularly put ourselves in
the face of temptation and not be affected. When faced with the
problem of temptation, we need to take the good doctor’s advice
and “stay out of them places.” Jesus gave us some good advice when
He said we should pray for God to “Lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13, ESV). This is what I am calling
the prayer of guidance and deliverance. The Bible is full of people
who prayed for guidance and deliverance – like David, Daniel,
Esther, Peter, and Paul. God was there to answer their prayer and to
help them. That same God stands ready to help you too. When you
are tempted, you are in need of God’s guidance and when you fall
into temptation, you are in need of God’s deliverance. God makes us
this promise in Scripture, “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will
deliver you, and you will honor me” (Psalm 50:15, NIV).
This morning, as we continue in our current sermon series:
“Kingdom Come: Bringing Heaven to Earth” I will share with you
some Biblical and practical steps you can take to receive guidance
and deliverance from evil and temptation.
March 12, 2023
Christ Be With Me – the Prayer of St. Patrick
I have been preaching a series of messages on the topic of prayer,
specifically “The Lord’s Prayer” found in Matthew 6. Jesus’
disciples had seen Him pray many times. They must have made the
connection between Jesus’ intense prayer life and the power He
showed in every aspect of life. So, Luke tells us that one of them
asked Jesus to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:2-4) and Jesus gave
them this simple, yet powerful, prayer that we have been studying
in this series. Next week we will look at the final part of the prayer,
“And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil
one” (Matthew 6:13).
The Bible instructs us to “Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds
of prayers…” (Ephesians 6:18, NCV). Since this Friday is Saint
Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d share with you a prayer that is been
accredited to Patrick himself: “Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ where I lie, Christ where
I sit, Christ where I arise, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks
of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me, Christ in
the eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. Salvation is
of the Lord. Salvation is of the Christ. May your salvation, Lord, be
ever with us.”
March 5, 2023
Before Asking for Forgiveness
A Sunday School teacher had just concluded a lesson on the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6 and had explained to her students what it means to ask the Lord to “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (verse 12). “To forgive our debts,” she explained, “means to
forgive our sins.” She wanted to make sure she had made her point and asked, “Can anyone tell me what you must do before you can ask for the forgiveness of sin?” There was a short pause and then, from the back of the room, little Johnny spoke up. “Sin,” he said. The Bible says when, not if, but when we sin, we can ask God for His forgiveness and He will forgive us our sins (1 John 1:9). One of the most effective lies the devil gets us to believe is that our sins aren’t really forgiven, despite the promise of God’s Word. Demons hate when people are delivered from their grasp, and they like to plant seeds of doubt in our minds about the reality of our forgiveness and salvation. This is why Jesus said, when we pray, say, “Our Heavenly Father… forgive the sins we have done, just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us” (Matthew 6:1a, 12, ICB). This morning, we continue our study of this prayer and will look at the attribute of God’s great mercy to forgive us our debts, sins, and trespasses.
February 26, 2023
The Wonder of Bread
When I was a child, the only bread we ever had at our home was Wonder Bread. You can still buy Wonder Bread today and in fact there is a Wonder Bread Bakery in Stockton. Since 1921, Wonder Bread has been a staple in millions of homes across the US where
it’s packed in lunchboxes and even served in restaurants. Today, you can go into any grocery store and find dozens of types and brand names of bread. The aroma of warm bread beckons us to sit, eat, and savor the wonderful taste. Bread plays an important role in the pages of the Bible as well. Not only is bread a staple food, but it also has various meanings and symbolism. The Israelites always kept twelve loaves of bread on the altar in the tabernacle and later in the temple of the Lord. Bread was used to represent the relationship between God and the Israelites and then in the New Testament between Jesus and His followers. Jesus would say of Himself, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). This morning, I am continuing our study from Matthew 6 and the prayer that Jesus taught His
followers. What does it mean when we are commanded to pray “Give us this day our daily bread” (verse 11)? Let’s explore God’s Word together for the answer.
February 19, 2023
The Serenity Prayer
We are in a series that I have entitled “KINGDOM COME: Bringing Heaven to Earth.” Our key Scripture text is Matthew 6:9-13 and we often call Jesus’ Words there “The Lord’s Prayer.” I did some research on the most popular prayers and of course this prayer is usually #1 on most lists. There were Old Testament ones, like the prayer of Jabez from
1 Chronicles 4:10, and prayers of the Apostles, such as Paul’s prayer for the Church in Philippians 1:9-11. However, there were other prayers that although not in the Bible, were written by men and women who had an obvious love of God and His Word. One of those prayers was penned by a theologian named Reinhold Niebuhr called “The Serenity Prayer.” Now most of us have heard the 1st part of this prayer: “God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” But did you know there is more to that prayer? It goes on to petition the Lord, “Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; accepting
hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.” I cannot help but think that he had the prayer Jesus taught His followers in mind as he wrote those words.
February 12, 2023
The Name of God
Last week we began a series of messages that I have entitled “KINGDOM COME: Bringing Heaven to Earth” that will take us into the Spring and Easter Season (which believe it or not, Easter Sunday is just 7 weeks away). We are looking at the prayer Jesus taught His follower in Matthew 6:9-13. Last week we discussed the fact that this prayer is more of a model to follow rather than just words to memorize and repeat. God is interested in our hearts when we pray, not just the form or words we use. Jesus began this model for us
to pray by first reminding us that we are praying to our Heavenly Father and in this 2nd sermon, we will look at the importance of remembering that God’s Name is holy and to be revered. Jesus taught His followers to pray that God the Father would “hallow” His
Name. Knowing God, our Father, by His Personal Names is one of the greatest privileges for His Children. The word God (Yahweh or Jehovah) is found throughout the pages of the Bible, but the Lord reveals Himself more personally through the Names with which He
introduces Himself in Scripture. Although there are many, this morning I will share with you 4 Names of God from the Bible, what they mean to we who believe, and how they can help us when we address Him in prayer. King David wrote, “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you” (Psalm 9:10).
February 5, 2023
The Kingdom of God is Like
This morning, I am concluding our series of sermons on being Kingdom Builders. However, as our theme for 2023, I will be preparing and preaching more messages throughout this year on what it means and some practical and Biblical ways we can be Kingdom Builders. In this final message, we will see what Jesus had to say about the Kingdom of God. Jesus preached that the Kingdom of God is like the smallest of seeds and that is like a living seed, which when it grows will become “larger than all other garden plants” (Mark 4:31-32). Jesus only had a handful of disciples, they were small in number and yet what a difference they made in building the Kingdom of God. Even in our own lives, God’s Kingdom may have a small beginning in our hearts, but it will grow. The question for you this morning is, what is God doing in you to spread through you and into the lives of others as you build His Kingdom?
Next month, I’ll start a new sermon series that will take us into the spring that I am calling “Kingdom Come: Bringing Heaven to Earth.” We will take an in depth look at Jesus Words in Matthew 6:9-13, where He teaches His disciples how to pray for God’s Kingdom to come and His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. I hope you will make plans to be a part of this teaching and learning to be Kingdom Builders in 2023.
January 29, 2023
The Kingdom of God is Like
This morning, I am concluding our series of sermons on being Kingdom Builders. However, as our theme for 2023, I will be preparing and preaching more messages throughout this year on what it means and some practical and Biblical ways we can be Kingdom Builders. In this final message, we will see what Jesus had to say about the
Kingdom of God. Jesus preached that the Kingdom of God is like the smallest of seeds and that is like a living seed, which when it grows will become “larger than all other garden plants” (Mark 4:31-32). Jesus only had a handful of disciples, they were small in number and yet what a difference they made in building the Kingdom of God. Even in our
own lives, God’s Kingdom may have a small beginning in our hearts, but it will grow. The question for you this morning is, what is God doing in you to spread through you and into the lives of others as you build His Kingdom?
Next month, I’ll start a new sermon series that will take us into the spring that I am calling “Kingdom Come: Bringing Heaven to Earth.” We will take an in depth look at Jesus Words in Matthew 6:9-13, where He teaches His disciples how to pray for God’s Kingdom to come and His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. I hope you will make plans to be a part of this teaching and learning to be Kingdom Builders in 2023.
January 22, 2023
The Importance of Fellowship
We are on the downhill side of this first month of 2023 already. In February, we will have our first church fellowship event with several others planned throughout this year. I always enjoy and look forward to our Fellowship Ministry Events. I believe they are one of the most Scriptural things that we do as a church family, and they are certainly essential as we are striving to be Kingdom Builders in 2023. Our fellowship ministry is much more than just decorating a room, sharing a meal, making chili or baking pies. It’s a chance for us to get together as a family outside of our regular worship services and Bible studies. It’s an opportunity for you to invite someone to meet our church family and see what Christian fellowship can look like without inviting them to a “church service.” Most importantly, it provides an avenue for us to fulfill the commands to “encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) and “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). The early church was devoted to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word, prayer, communion, and fellowship (see Acts 2:42). This year I want to encourage you to be devoted to our fellowship, to build the Kingdom, and to fulfill our GOOD Mission. If you would like to learn more about our Fellowship Ministry and become
more involved, please see me and/or one of the elders. We are also having a meeting after service next Sunday (January 29th) about our Fellowship Ministry – so I hope you’ll make plans to join us.