July 2, 2017 – A Work in Progress

Preached by Rod Benner (00:48)

Last week, Rod encouraged us to not let a known personal problem or sin stop us from pursuing God.  God meets you where you are, but calls you to where he is.  This week, Rod explains some ways to keep our minds on God.

The pursuit of God is a journey.  In the letter to the Romans, Paul wrote of this same topic and encouraged the church at Rome to pursue God.  He wrote, “…in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship”.

Remember, a living sacrifice will struggle to keep it’s own life.  The old life, the old attitudes, the old habits that don’t honor God will want to hold on, but because of God’s mercy you can honor God and let go of the old.  It’s not about rules, it’s about the redeeming and transforming work of Jesus Christ.  Not about what you do, but what you allow Christ to do in you.

The transformation to be Christ-like, a little Christ, a Christian is a journey.  Once you come to Jesus you become a good work in progress.

Scripture Reference: Romans 12:1-2

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Related Sermon: Will Compromise Become You Legacy?

April 2, 2017 – Acts: Conflict Happens and so can Resolution

Preached by Rod Benner (00:59)

When people gather together, conflict happens.  Even a happy group of people with similar ideas will encounter conflict.  If we don’t respond to it with Godly wisdom, the conflict can quickly explode into a bigger mess.

The Apostle Paul and his missionary partner Barnabas agreed to go back to the churches they both started and check on the Christians.  This was a good plan and both we eager to go.  Barnabas also wanted to bring along with them another partner, John Mark.  Enter the conflict.

John Mark started with them on the first missionary journey but soon dropped out for unknown reasons.  Whatever the reasons were, Paul did not want to John Mark to come along with him and Barnabas.  Barnabas did.  So great was the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas, they parted ways.  The good idea of visiting churches was torn apart by a little disagreement between two godly, Spirit-filled men.

Know that conflict will happen and know how to respond to it.

Scripture Reference: Acts 15:36-41; Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11

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March 19, 2017 – The Only Two Rules You Need

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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