Check out my latest article for Youth Specialties:
Let’s say – You have an appointment with the doctor. You’re feeling fine, no symptoms, just a checkup. The doctor comes in with the lab reports and says you are going to need surgery, right away.
What do you think? Do you just sign on the dotted line and ask where those drafty blue gowns are? NOOOO! You ask to see the result of the tests, the x-rays, the blood tests…show me the chart that says I have a problem.
Everyone in this room tonight is at that appointment. All of you have the problem. It’s called sin. No matter what tests you have done – it’s ALL going to come back positive.
And there is only one cure – you need surgery. That sin that is part of your life needs to be removed, and the only way it can be removed: JESUS CHRIST.
Don’t be the patient and just stare at the lab results and toss them away…Don’t be like those at the cross and just be like the crowd that walks away. You want to be able to call this day good?
You want to have victory in your life? Trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, have him forgive your sins and give you new life. There is only ONE WAY. Pray in your heart to Jesus and you will be able to see what many already see…how good, how oh so good – Good Friday is.
Jesus. King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Savior of the World. The Messiah.
Could the Son of God truly sympathize with me? Did he really have the same struggles that I have today? Hebrews 4:15 says it is so. But to what degree? What are some examples of how Jesus knows exactly how you feel? Off the top of my head, here are few…
I’m sure there is more. But you get the idea. Christ is not just our Savior, he is our sympathetic high priest who was tempted in every way we were, suffered every possible ailment we experience…yet He did not sin. Yet, He does not fail to give us sympathy in our struggles. No, we have a high priest that cares, suffers with us, and even intercedes on our behalf. Oh, what a Savior!
Listen to the entire sermon here – http://mbconline.org/sermons/current-year – 2/25/18 Sermon
I remember when I learned that Jesus was there at creation – my mind was blown. You understand why there are plural pronouns in the creation account in Gen. 1:26. You see it clearly in John 1 that Jesus was a big part of the start of this world. Colossians 1:16 becomes like a bright and shining star. And in, Hebrews 1:2 it is pretty clear I was missing out on something special. Jesus was THERE before creation, during creation, and will be there after the created world perishes
Every year at Thanksgiving – my wife hopes that I will show up in a different sweater. But the last 10 years, I have worn the same sweater. Each year, I faithfully wear that brown & orange argyle piece of art. To my wife, it makes little sense to show up in that ugly, old, and tattered the sweater year after year. With the choice of a new sweater vs. one that by most accounts is hideous, it should be an easy choice.
In Hebrews 1:10-12, we find a comparison of the Creator (Jesus) vs. Creation – after we review this, the choice should be easy…
|Just the Beginning||End is Near|
Do me a favor and look at these lists. Which do you want to follow? Which list do you want to be a part of? Which list wins? Which list is better?
It’s an easy choice. You’d rather have the creator, unchangeable, eternal, and beginning of an incredible future…instead of an old, headed for death, ending soon creation. Easy choice? Then why do we constantly make the wrong choice. We choose creation all the time over the Creator. We choose the ugly, wrinkled, old sweater…We choose money over the joy of giving. We choose lust, pride, and anger over purity, humility & grace. We choose to love the things of this world instead of putting our treasures in heaven. We choose wrong all the time – and we put a list like this, side by side, and puts our hearts to shame.
It’s an easy choice…that we make WAY too hard. When we get the creature (US) and the creator (Jesus) mixed up…our life gets messed up. We do things on our own – w/out the counsel of Scripture. We rely on our own strength and we fail in our weakness – it’s why we ARGUE (our way seems beset), why we FIGHT (our way was violated) and why we GET DOWN (our way wasn’t chosen).
I can remember in high school. We had soccer practice in the rain, and to end practice we decided to slide through the mud. I thought it was a good idea…until I got home. My mom, and rightfully so, would not let me in the house. You’ve been there – your mom looked at your clothes and said “Yeah that stain’s not coming out.” The shirt gets rolled up and tossed…she says “Go take a shower and change into something new”.
This world we live in – it’s like those clothes. It’s dirty. It’s full of sin. Just turn on the news for 5 seconds and you are reminded we live in a fallen world. Sin has tainted its beauty and innocence that were part of it during creation week, only to be robbed of its purity in the Garden.
But Jesus – one day will roll it up, toss it aside and lay out a new one…without the dirt, the pain, the suffering…everything will be made new. What a day that will be.
(You can listen to the entire sermon here – click on 1/28/2018 sermon)
Synopsis: This was one of my all-time favorite series I have done with my students. After all, what are you preparing your teens to do? Face life after high school with a Biblical worldview, a heart for the lost, and a desire to live a life as a servant to the King. This series got down to business of what life will be like after high school. We discussed money, relationships, careers, temptations…we talked about REAL LIFE.
Special Features: We brought in special speakers from programs like “5 Minutes for Life”. Other special speakers included missionaries that spoke on their high school experience and a panel of youth leaders that answered questions about life after high school. At the end, we brought in parents to help us with the “Real Life Experience”, where the students went through a graduation ceremony and went out into the real world. It was all pretend, but we put them through college admission and job interviews, budget training, and even gave them jobs to complete.
This was the exact topic that I wanted to be the foundation of my talks. At the heart of everything we discussed, we kept coming back to the idea of God’s will. What is God’s will in your career? Your relationships? Your future? This book is a basic framework that will help you find footing in this foundation and provide solid Biblical support for your discussion. You will need to supplement and add to the material, but this less-known resource acted as a great resource through this series.
Set up as a devotional for seniors transitioning into adulthood, the table of contents became my best friend with to use this as a curriculum resource. Once I outlined my messages, I was able to take valuable nuggets of information with each small devotional. This book was especially helpful in the conclusion and takeaway of the messages. It provided dynamite discussion questions that added to the final moments of each series topic.
Our ministry context comprises of junior high and high school on Sunday nights. That being said, I needed a resource that would add an element for the younger student. They are not thinking too far ahead, but they should be. This topical resource allows the teacher to engage the student from the youngest age to the oldest. These authors were spot on with the topics that needed discussed with students regarding their future. This was another valuable resource for this series.
Bonus Video Suggestion:
Most of the time, we have a very poor definition of good. We read Romans 8:28, and we think of our own definition of good…
Good to us is a well-frosted piece of cake. Good to us is a plush, cushioned recliner. Good to us is sitting on the beach with an ice-cold sweet tea. Good to us is when we wake up with clear sinuses, no aches/pains and low blood pressure. Good to us is when we have some extra in our bank account for some fun purchases this month.
While these things are not bad…it shows we have little idea of how good the goodness of God truly is. God’s goodness is more than this.
Joni-Eareckson Tada (a diving accident at 17 left her without use of her hands/legs…is now CEO of Joni & Friends International Disability Center, famous artist using her mouth, & international speaker) said this:
“God cares most – not about making us comfortable – but about teaching us to hate our sins, grow up spiritually, and love him. To do this, HE gives us salvation’s benefits only gradually, sometimes painfully gradually. In other words, he lets us continue to feel much of sin’s sting while we’re headed for heaven…where at last, every sorrow we taste will one day prove to the be best possible thing that could have happened.”
You see, God operates from a whole different level. Not limited by time & space; Unlimited knowledge & power that has no bounds
BUT Put all these together and just TRY to doubt that God can accomplish Romans 8:28 in our difficulties.
Sure, good can be seen when life is riding on unicorns on rainbows while eating skittles. But when life gets hard – that’s when we really see God work in miraculous ways.
God can orchestrate his plans, interweaving through the evils of this world, pulling decisions and circumstances from the past, present & future…allowing difficulties, exercising patience…and HE IS ABLE TO MAKE IT GOOD.
That’s my God – NOTHING can stop Him from accomplishing His goodness. None of these things stopped God from producing good in Joseph’s life. And NOTHING will stop him from producing good in your life either.
What if the Bible ended in Genesis 3? In Genesis 3 we witness the fall of man. And in the punishment of Adam, God reveal the ultimate punishment of death. Adam’s heart must’ve just broke. You are telling me, this all is going to come to an end? Shades of Ecclesiastes 12:7 come to mind. As does Romans 6:23, where it tells us the wages of sin is death. Adam’s, Eve’s, and our choice of sin = the end result is death.
What if the Bible ended there? What if that was the end of our story? Returning to dust. Because there are many in this world that believe that. That this life is all there is, and when it is over, it is over.
But it’s not the end. Because of our Redeemer, we can have victory over death.
Let’s take a journey to the story of the Lost Son, returning to his Father. Maybe you missed the subtle phrases at the end of the reunion, because I did. Look at the final verse we read in that story…Luke 15:24.
How does the Father describe the son? DEAD. But when he came back, he was ALIVE AGAIN. From death to life.
Please don’t let this be the end of your story. Because, let me just share with you, that if you have not allowed the Redeemer Jesus to save you, you are dead in your sins…and that is where you will remain for eternity…
BUT…if you trust in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross, death is not the end! It is just like in Luke 15 with the Father and his lost son…it will be a celebration in heaven…because you have come home.
To hear/watch the entire sermon go here and click on the 8/20 sermon.
You know, there are times when I study God’s Word, and I get goosebumps when I see God’s hand. Did you know that the temple of Jerusalem, the city which overlooked the hill of Jesus’ death…were located on what is called a “seismic ridge”, a geological fault line that extends all the way to the Great Rift Valley in Kenya.
You think God didn’t know where Jesus was to killed…where his death would be? He did! To think when God created the world, HE knew the very place where this fault line would be…He knew in how he formed the earth that in that specific place…there would be an earthquake that would reverberate from the core of the world he created for man to live.
You don’t think God is in every detail? You think your life is any different? That God doesn’t have a plan, that He doesn’t know your suffering, that He isn’t in complete control? He was, and is, and always will be.
An Excerpt from the sermon called “The Earth Shook”. (Watch the entire sermon here)