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1 Thing Matters
20 minutes | Sep 25, 2022
What “Matters” in This Life Doesn't in the Next (Hebrews 13:1-6)
"HARD TRUTH" Series While money and possessions matter in this life, they cannot bring true happiness and fulfillment. In fact, they often bring the opposite of what they promise to deliver! Yet, the ultimate failure of money and possessions is that they fail to deliver when it comes to death. Those whose hearts are filled with love for possessions and no love of God or for God will receive the only eternity that money can buy: a pain-filled forever without God. Conversely, that which can often matter too little in life will never fail us in death: the Word of God. While those who hear and heed the Scriptures often appear to receive little benefit in life from it, the reward of the gospel upon death will dwarf anything and everything that money could ever buy. Those who find the help they need in God rather than in money will never be disappointed.
23 minutes | Sep 18, 2022
Serve God WITH Money, But Not God AND Money (Ecclesiastes 5:10-20)
'HARD TRUTH" Series There are more than 2300 Bible passages that speak about money. Why? Money is a master Satan frequently tempts us to serve. And that evil foe knows how successfully he can manipulate us with money. Money provides us with a false comfort and a sense of security. It serves as a source of pride. It serves as a wonderful tool for a favorite pastime: justifying ourselves in our own eyes and the eyes of others. Jesus knows that serving money makes it impossible to serve God. The human heart is not big enough for both. As a result, Jesus does all he can to expose the futility of serving money. He also helps us see that the only one truly worth serving is our gracious, loving God. When we serve God, money is put in its proper place. Instead of money being a lord to serve, it becomes a resource for serving the Lord. This is the hard truth. There is no way for us to serve both God and money. But we can serve God with our money.
19 minutes | Sep 4, 2022
The Found are Left; The Lost are Found (Luke 15:1-10)
"HARD TRUTH" Series “He’s lost.” We use that term not only to refer to someone who is bewildered about where they are but also to refer to someone who is in a helpless, hopeless state. Mankind’s natural state is one of complete spiritual helplessness, a profound lostness. It manifests itself in countless ways. The one who simply wants God to leave him alone: lost. The one who feels she can handle life on her own: lost. The one who thinks he has the right to repent of his sins on his own timetable and on his own terms: lost. The one who thinks God owes them in some way: lost. Wandering around physically lost can lead to winding up in bad places. But the hard truth is that wandering around spiritually lost puts you in the worst place of all. Fortunately, Jesus does not leave us alone in our lostness. He relentlessly seeks us. He involves the rest of the Christian community in seeking the lost and rejoicing over the found.
19 minutes | Aug 28, 2022
The Humble Will Be Exalted; The Exalted Will Be Humbled (Luke 14:1, 7-14)
"HARD TRUTH" Series Everyone knows that humility is a positive trait and pride is a negative one. So, why bother talking about what we already know? Because in spite of that knowledge, we still helplessly fall into the trap of pride. We cannot help but think that our ascent to the exalted status we desire is our responsibility. We even take our exaltation into our own hands, either by treating poorly those we believe we can stand on top of or by showing favoritism to those we believe can provide us with upward mobility. Rather than minimizing pride as a sin that is common or harmless, Jesus’ words today confront us with this hard truth. Those who exalt themselves will be humbled by God. But Jesus also gives us the promise we need to be freed from pride’s trap. Our exaltation doesn’t need to be our responsibility because Jesus has already made it his. Those who humble themselves Christ will exalt.
19 minutes | Aug 21, 2022
The First Will Be Last; The Last Will Be First (Luke 13:22-30)
"HARD TRUTH" Series When it comes to the difficult and uncomfortable topic of who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, it is natural to want to avoid the issue. One way we do that is to direct our attention to theoretical questions. “What is heaven like?” “How old will we be there?” “Are there really baby-faced angels wearing diapers and shooting love arrows?” Today, someone asks Jesus that same type of question: “Lord, are only a few going to be saved?” Jesus brushes these questions aside. Instead, he answers the question we should be asking. Rather than talking about how many will be saved, Jesus explains how to be among the saved. What he teaches today through his Word is a hard truth. The doorway into heaven is narrow. Scripture consistently teaches that those individuals who are certain they will be first through that door are more likely to be last, if they make it through at all. Instead, the one who believes he is the last one God should let into his kingdom and that his only chance of getting in is through the grace of Christ will enter first.
18 minutes | Aug 14, 2022
We Want Peace, But God’s Word Divides (Luke 12:49-53)
"HARD TRUTH" Series Ask others and you’ll find that most people want peace, but they want it on their terms and as they define it. That is well and good, that is, until someone else comes along with different terms of peace or an entirely different understanding of peace altogether. How likely is it that peace between those two individuals or groups will be achieved? Not very. So what happens when Jesus comes along and claims to bring peace, but on his terms and as he defines it? Division happens. What are we to do then? We have two choices. We can either dig in our heels and demand peace on our terms, or we can humbly open our ears and hearts to receive the peace that Jesus brings.
22 minutes | Aug 7, 2022
Focused Prayer (Genesis 18:20-32)
In a sense, prayer comes naturally to us. We want so we ask. We hurt so we cry out. We are frustrated so we vent. We are blessed so we give thanks. So we sometimes define prayer as “speaking to God from the heart.” Seems so easy. What does not come naturally, however, is the focused prayer God wants for us. We need focus when it comes to the basis of our prayers - the unique and unearned relationship with have with our Father - and we need focus when it comes to the content of our prayers. Yes, we can speak from the heart and ask for anything we want. But our Father invites us to pray specifically for the things he wants to give us. Prayer is the opportunity to bring our will into conformity with God’s will, not the other way around. We have much to learn about prayer! So, along with Jesus’ disciples, we say, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).
19 minutes | Aug 2, 2022
Focused Finances (Luke 12:13-21)
Jesus wants focused followers. However, one of the things that can most easily get in the way of our focus is our earthly possessions. It is no surprise, therefore, that Jesus’ words so frequently focus his followers on wealth. Jesus’ followers don’t reject earthly wealth or despise it. They can be grateful for every good gift that comes from the hand of God - while also being on guard against greed. Focused followers don’t give earthly wealth a role in their lives it will never be able to fill.
23 minutes | Jul 10, 2022
Focused Friendship (Ruth 1:1-19a)
Today, Jesus teaches us that he has set us free to live a life focused on serving others. No matter the neighbor and no matter his need, we are free to act in ways that often seem senseless. We are free to actively seek out a neighbor in need. We are free to bear any cost and go any distance to serve them as Christ would serve them. We are free to be more concerned about being friendly to others than being friended by them.
21 minutes | Jul 4, 2022
Ministry (1 Peter 5:1-4)
"God's Words Possess God's Power" Series Jesus not only gives us his powerful Word, but also pastors who proclaim it. Those entrusted with the care of Jesus' flock are expected to shepherd that flock just as He would. So they share Jesus’ words, not because of what they might gain from the flock, but because of what the flock might gain from Jesus. When Jesus’ shepherds minister to Jesus’ flock, the flock is also equipped to minister to each other and to the world with Jesus’ powerful Word, so that God’s kingdom might advance among us.
19 minutes | Jun 26, 2022
Commitment (Luke 9:51-62)
"God's Words Possess God's Power" Series There are different types of followers: the half-hearted versus the committed. Jesus is uninterested in half-hearted followers who shoehorn him into their lives only when their other pursuits provide time for him. Jesus wants followers who are all-in… who love him above all things… who would be willing to leave everything else behind if that’s what it takes to be with him. Where will he find those kinds of committed followers? He won’t. They can’t be found; they can only be made, and Jesus’ words alone have the power to do just that. Through his Word, Jesus creates in us the very commitment that he seeks.
19 minutes | Jun 19, 2022
Freedom (Luke 8:26-39)
"God's Words Possess God's Power" Series We are born into this world on the side of the evil one. Unless and until God intervenes, we are enslaved to Satan and bent only toward sin. But God’s powerful Word has intervened! His words possess the only power that can promise freedom from the enemy. Just as Jesus’ words freed one man from the devil’s demons, so do his words set us free today. So powerful are his words still today that when his words leave our lips, they free others from Satan’s spiritual stranglehold, too! God’s words possess God’s power - the power to give freedom!
20 minutes | Jun 5, 2022
Scattering & Gathering (Genesis 11:1-9)
Even after Jesus had gone up into heaven, he still did what he does best: kept his promise! The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was the fulfillment of Jesus’ parting gift and promise to his disciples at his Ascension. Where man had left Babel in confusion, the Spirit brought clarity at Pentecost. Today the Holy Spirit continues his work of scattering and gathering, and for the same purpose: to bring clarity through the gospel as only the Spirit can.
19 minutes | May 31, 2022
Victorious Over Meaninglessness (Luke 24:44-53)
We want to make a difference. We want to serve a purpose. Without purpose, life seems meaningless, and we can feel as if we’re just in the way and taking up space. But purpose can breathe life into us, make us alive, and rekindle a passion from within. At Jesus’ ascension, he did not leave us because he was fed up, but rather to fill us up with purpose - his purpose! So we now have meaning. We now have a mission - his.
17 minutes | May 22, 2022
Victorious Over Grief (John 16:16-24)
“This, too, shall pass.” There is a measure of comfort in knowing that seasons of grief will eventually pass. However, that comfort can be rather short-lived when we are suddenly slammed with the next unexpected wave of grief. How do we process grief then? Do we begin to just accept the miserable reality that joy will always elude us and that perennial grief is our lot in life? It doesn’t have to be that way. Jesus made sure of it.
19 minutes | May 15, 2022
Victorious Over Lovelessness (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
We love love. We love being in love and even love the idea of being in love. We love certain foods, clothes, celebrities, music, cars, teams, etc. - we could go on and on listing all the things we love. Is it possible, though, that our “love” for so much has watered down its meaning? More importantly, has our own love become watered down and meaningless? It might appear so as we consider how we see people treat one other in the world today. The question is… are we part of the problem? If so, how do we address it?
19 minutes | May 8, 2022
Victorious Over Falling (John 10:22-30)
It could result in serious injury or death for a rock climber. It would dock the figure skater’s score. Falling can have disastrous consequences. But falling from faith would be even more devastating. Should you be concerned? Should you be worried about losing your faith? Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has an answer for you. Listen to him, just as sheep listen to the voice of their shepherd. His words will drive away your despair. His words will not disappoint.
19 minutes | May 1, 2022
Victorious Over Failure (John 21:1-14)
We all fail. We all are well aware of our failures, and if we’re not, others will all too often remind us of them! But failings and failures from our past do not define us. We are not failures simply because we have failed in the past. How do we know? Because there is something greater that defines us, something far superior to any failure: a Christ who never failed. Christ’s resurrection is the proof that he has erased our failures and is the assurance of our victory.
20 minutes | Apr 24, 2022
Victorious Over Suffering (Revelation 1:9-18)
Easter Sunday has come and gone, the grind continues, and life goes on. If Jesus’ resurrection is such a big deal, why does it feel as if not much has changed? Struggles have not disappeared for us as Christians. We still come under fire for our faith. God’s people all over the world are suffering for the Savior’s sake, and we are not immune to it. Does Easter really matter that much? It does! Jesus’ victory is our victory! Suffering has met its match at the empty tomb and its hold on us is temporary. Our victory in Christ, though, is forever!
20 minutes | Apr 17, 2022
Defeated (Luke 24:1-12)
Defeated. It’s one thing to experience it when your team is on the losing end of the big game. It’s another to feel it consistently in life. When the hits keep coming, one after the other, when life takes this turn then that turn, it all takes the wind out of our sails. We feel defeated. But we aren’t alone. We aren’t the first and we won’t be the last to experience feelings of defeat. So the question isn’t, “Who else knows what this feels like?” - we all do; rather, the question is, “How are we going to respond?” On this Easter Sunday, we turn to several defeated disciples for direction on how to face defeat.
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