Sermons Archives: May 2016

Chasing the Red Dot

Posted on May 18, 2016 | Download

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 The Red Dot If you’ve never owned a cat, I’m sure you have at least seen funny cat videos online. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat, but be sure to set a timer – the next time you look up, hours will have passed. I saw a video recently of cat after cat, time and time again dropping everything to chase a red laser-pointer dot. Anytime the dot appears, it’s game over and their attention is immediately redirected. There’s no stopping to think about it, it’s immediate. The cat could have been eating, playing with something else, or sitting and relaxing, and then all of a sudden – PING! WHOOSH! All you see is a streak of fur dashing down the hall to chase this red dot. Cats will try to run up walls, jump onto counters, off of couches, and into boxes that are ever so slightly and deliberately balanced just at the top of the stairs. All of this to try to catch this little red dot. Watching these cats made me think about all of the many things in life we chase. We chase after money, we chase after careers, we chase after people, we chase after ideas, we chase after knowledge…and if there’s enough time at the end of the day, we might chase after God. We each need to refocus on God because we get so easily distracted.   Listening to Jesus Jesus is straightforward. Yes, Jesus taught in parables, but when it came to the really important stuff, he was candid. “Follow me”, “love each other”, “seek me and you will find me”, “ask me and you will receive”, “put me first”, and “remember me.” These are all clear and concise commands. This is a blessing for my analytical brain because I tend to over-think and complicate everything. In a world full of confusion it's so good to have a Messiah who is straightforward!   Focus on Jesus With all of the “red dots” in our lives, it is so important to keep our focus on Jesus. For some people the red dot is Facebook, for some it may be inappropriate humor, for others, the red dot is ditching responsibility to ‘have fun’. The red dot can be anything that takes our focus away from God. The enemy is fixing traps for us and baiting us with these little red dots. The enemy knows that we may not jump into a trap willingly, but we might if we are distracted by chasing after something. What will it mean for you if you finally catch this red dot? You have to count it as loss. You may argue that what you’re dreaming and chasing after is not inherently a bad thing, but despite any good intentions we may have, if anything is taking God’s place in the center of our lives, it has to go. We can’t want that dream or goal or project more than we want Jesus.   “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ” -Philippians 3:7-8  

Do You Like God?

Posted on May 11, 2016 | Download

Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. -1 John 2:15   Have you ever liked a photo on Instagram or a post on Facebook? Chances are you have. Now you might be wondering why I would bring this up, and I wouldn’t blame you. It seems out of place to talk about something other than Jesus on the church blog, right? Actually, Jesus himself always taught in parables, which are still relevant today. Our Messiah gave people bits of information that they could understand and relate to in the stories He told them – then He went a step further and explained what the stories meant and represented spiritually. Since the answer is probably yes to whether you have tapped that thumbs up icon on your well-used Smartphone, I’ll ask this question: do you “like” God?  The question is really asking do you have a close relationship with God that people envy? One that gives you an unbreakable bond to Him in everything you do? Or do you passively interact with Him? Do you just tap the thumbs-up on the Christian icons and like or favorite God every now and then? Imagine a phone with a bunch of text notifications – some are from God, some are from the world, and some are from Satan. Which ones do you answer the most? For me, the worldly ones, as well as Satan’s personal texts seem the most appealing at times. They appear as shiny and flashy ads and they seem like they will solve all your problems, but if you click on the ads they just lead you away from what you were focused on, cause viruses, and lie to you. Just like notifications on our phones, we can choose which messages to listen to in our lives. Do we listen to the voice of hope and peace and love? Or do we let whispers of ambition and pride and jealousy into our hearts and minds? We choose which messages to receive and in turn, it is our responsibility to answer them. What if the reason we don’t get more spiritual “texts” from God is that we don’t text Him back? If we don’t actively seek God’s word and character, we are left to piece together an incomplete picture of God and His plan for our world and for us. What if you just “like” what He posts and favorite all His tweets, but you don’t ever connect to Him personally? For us as Christians, if we don’t have a personal relationship with God through prayer and striving to follow his ways, we are just His metaphorical Facebook friends. We wrongly use the word “friends” and only know the easy-to-digest outer things about God because we refuse to engage on a deeper level. We as believers tend to just tap that thumbs up icon all day instead of actually connecting to our Savior and having a real relationship with Him. As followers of Christ we need to get off our spiritual cell phones and see that God is right here in the room from us – all we have to do is take a few steps off the couch and he will be waiting with arms open wide, ready to receive us.