November 26, 2017: Be Excited about Jesus

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Preached by Evan Stewart (00:25)

Each year, Black Friday shopping events bring amazing deals that create excitement for shoppers. During the holiday season we get excited about stuff and events, but do you get excited about Jesus?

There were a few people that saw the birth of Jesus like some of us might see the ultimate Black Friday deal. The shepherds, Simeon, and Anna; they were the Black Friday shopper’s for Jesus. The shepherd’s spontaneously went into Bethlehem when they heard the ad for the best deal in town. Simeon came to the temple for the door buster deal. Anna camped inside the store for the once in a lifetime event. The tragedy is that they didn’t have to push and squirm through a crowd. They were the only ones.

We can become so wrapped up in everyday life that we can be like the other people at the temple that day who had no idea or care who that little baby was. The Creator of everything was in the temple and only two people noticed.

As you prepare for Christmas, listen as Evan encourages us to find ways to be excited about Jesus.  Jesus’ coming should excite you.

Scripture references: Luke 2:8-38; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21

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July 23, 2017: Waiting on God on the Edge of the Cliff

Preached by Evan Stewart (00:42)

We are often told in the Scriptures to “wait on the Lord”, but what does that mean?  What does that look like?  King David wrote many psalms that reflect a lifestyle of waiting on God.  Also, the famous story of Job provides deep insight into an attitude of waiting.

The story of Job is often used as an explanation that bad things happen to good people under God’s supervision and control.  But his story also teaches the why it is important to always wait on the Lord.  Although Job never cursed God to his face, as Satan wagered he would, Job did stand on the edge of the cliff of despair.

Job experienced a turning point in his faith that each of us will come to.  Under the weight of affliction Job cried out that God was good to him yesterday, but today he is not. He reached the point where he began to believe that God had stopped being good to him.

Maybe you’ve stood on that same cliff.  If you haven’t, know that even the smallest of trials can take you there.

What God wants us to know is that while times are good we must dwell on the truth that he is good, loving, faithful and strong so that when times are bad we can cling to that same truth.  Waiting on God means learning to be still in order to see the goodness of God around you.

Scripture Reference: Psalm 27, Job 29:2-6, 30:9-10 and 19, 38, 40:4-5 and 42:1-6

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April 23, 2017: Compassion like Jesus will Move Us to Action Now

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Preached by Evan Stewart (01:00)

Do you find that your compassion for people many times makes you feel sorry for a person in need rather than the kind that compels you to loving action to help or pursue that person in need?  Not just a compassion for people who might go to Hell, but compassion for the broken and needy alive today in this community?

Jesus certainly came to save us from Hell but it’s easy to forget that he also came to bring completeness to our broken situations while we are on earth.  Compassion isn’t just about street evangelism and getting someone to make a decision for Jesus.  This too is so important but we cannot forget that a compassionate heart responds to the brokenness all around us.

Evan takes us on an overview of compassion throughout the life of Jesus.  Four ideas gained from the overview are:

  1. Jesus was moved into action by Compassion
  2. Compassion is not weak tears but God’s strong love shown through a variety of ways
  3. Compassion compels us to cross cultural camps
  4. Pray for compassion and watch as your eyes are opened to the harvest around you

Scripture Reference: Matthew 9:35-36; Matthew 14:13-14; John 8:1-12; Luke 9:49-56; John 2:13-17; John 11:32-44; John 19:10-11; Luke 7:36-50; Luke 10:2; Matthew 11; 2 Corinthians 5:14-6:1

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Related sermon: Defining Your Mission

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March 19, 2017 – The Only Two Rules You Need

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Preached by Evan Stewart (00:30)

When we become a Christian one of the first questions we ask is, “what am I supposed to do now?”  You ask an older, more experienced Christian help you figure out what to do; to tell you the rules of the game.  So, an older Christian comes along and says, “Well, that’s easy.  Here’s what I’ve learned during my life.  Do this, don’t do that, do a lot of this, and be sure to stay away from that.”

Within a short period of time, well-intended advice can become a wrong standard of salvation.  More mature believers might sometimes unknowingly take good advice and turn it into a roadblock pointing people away from Jesus.  We all want the rules of the game, but it’s a fine balance to keep advice from turning to performance based rules.

This is what the older Jewish Christians did for the new Gentile Christians in Acts 15.  The new Christian men asked, “What now?”  The older, more experienced men of God said, “That’s easy.  For starters, get circumcised. This has been the practice of God-honoring men since the days of Abraham.  It worked for my father and my sons. It is the law God gave us. So, come on, let’s make an appointment down at the clinic.”  Then they took it further and added, “And if you don’t, then God won’t accept you.”

Just like the well-intended Pharisee Christians in the first church, we too will mistake rules for relationship with God.  We must be watchful to avoid creating rules that Jesus never provided.   If you want a rule to live by, then live by the two rules Jesus lived by.

Let these two rules be your standard: Will your action or thought show love to God?  Will it help your neighbor feel love or experience God’s love?  If yes, then do it freely.  If not, don’t do it.  These are the rules of the game, you don’t need any others.

Scripture Reference: Acts 15:1-5; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 7:1-5, 22:37-40

Related Sermon: Conform to Jesus Not a List of Rules

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