Showing posts from September, 2009

The Words You Speak in Your Bedroom (Reading 2 Kings 6:8-33)

Technology has exposed our desperate need to be known. I blog, therefore I am. Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace have either exposed our sheer boredom with life or they have each given us an outlet to say things to people that we have always wanted them to hear; like, “I’m bored”, or “I can’t wait to watch television tonight”, or “I need to do laundry.” Although we demonstrate the need to be known, we are essentially saying nothing. We are addicted to tautological chatter. As much as we expose, there is so much still hidden. We are hiding behind the chatter. Twitter is a 140 character veil, a clever diversion, a techno curtain to hide the soul. The king of Israel knew every move the king of Syria was about to make. The king of Syria thought there was a traitor in his midst. The problem was not treason, but divine knowledge. He twittered not, yet Israel knew, but how? Elisha, the man of God, the prophet, shared with the king of Israel information regarding the movements of th

No Big Deal (Sermon Audio: Sunday A.M.)

We often compartmentalize our lives thinking that God is not concerned about the small stuff. We make the mistake of desiring God’s help only in the big things. The author of 2 Kings inserts an odd little story in the most unlikely of places to remind us that when it comes to the lives of His servants, everything is a big deal to God. Whether it is a lost axe head or a bill you must pay, your life is not lost in the larger story of history. God creates legendary moments in which He intercedes in the most unexpected ways. Listen to Audio

Your Story (Sermon Audio: Wed. P.M.)

In sharing the gospel we not only share Scripture, but also give testimony to what the gospel has done in our own lives. This is exemplified often in the New Testament. The New Testament Scriptures are not simply theological treatises, but personal letters, stories, and testimonies to how the truths of the gospel have intersected with the human soul. What is your story? Maybe you need to think about your testimony and share it with others. Listen to Audio

Does God Care About Cars, Clothes, and Cancer?

Isn’t ironic that God is omnipresent yet it is so easy to feel as if He has abandoned us? When trials enter life it feels as if God steps out and we are on our own. We need a God of immeasurable power to perform something big, but we feel isolated and disconnected. In many people suffering arouses a sudden interest in God. At the very least, in all of us suffering seems to intensify our interest in God’s involvement. Yet, are we as interested about God being involved in the little things? I should not say, are we as interested about God being involved in the little things, but are we interested about God’s involvement in all things? 1 Peter 5:16 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” All means all. When we surrender our will and become God’s servants instead of His master, we are often surprised about the things He will do. We will find that i

God of the Little Things (Reading 2 Kings 6:1-7)

Creating the universe was a big thing. A guy losing an axe head in a river, in comparison, is a little thing. Syria laying siege to Samaria is a big thing (2 Kings 6:8 – 7:20). Again, a guy losing an axe head in a river, by comparison, is a little thing. Yet through Elisha, God granted a miracle to help a guy get a borrowed axe back. The same power that called chaos into created order was used to make iron swim. The political leaders of the world are gathering this week in New York. People who want to blow us up are going to be in the Big Apple. That’s a big thing. I have a Hebrew quiz tonight. To me, I could care less about Obama shaking hands with a terrorist. I just want to make sure I have the proper pointings on the second person plural form of objective Hebrew pronouns. Tonight, for me, Hebrew is a big thing. The big and little of it all is relative to the individual. Syria is laying siege to Samaria, that’s a big thing, but to the guy who lost a borrowed axe, that

Leprosy (Sermon Audio: Sunday A.M.)

Leprosy in Scripture can describe a variety of skin diseases. The most common reference is to a disease that begins with a white lesion on the surface of the skin. The lesion does not heal. In time the skin not only loses the ability to heal, but also to feel. Because of a lack of sensitivity those infected with leprosy continuously injure themselves and eventually lose their extremities. In Scripture leprosy is not only an anathema of the skin, but a metaphor of the impact of sin on the soul. Sin causes us to lose sensitivity to conviction and the teaching of Scripture. In 2 Kings 5 leprosy is not only a skin disease, but it is also this metaphor of the soul. Who is the leper? Listen to audio

The Twisted Sovereignty of God, Conclusion

Continued from part 2 Naaman is God’s pawn against Israel. Now he is God’s toy. The instructions of Elisha infuriate him. Why wash in the Jordan when there is better water in Damascus? He refused to believe there could be salvation in anything associated with Israel. He had good reason to feel this way. Ever since Solomon, Israel has been a golden calf and Baal worshipping disaster. Their kings have been nothing like their captured little girls. Yet with some coaxing, Naaman complies, he washes in the Jordan. Just as Elisha, the man of God promised, he is healed. His skin is restored like the flesh of a “little child.” He is as clean as his captured little girl. Naaman captured a little girl, but God used a little girl to capture Naaman. In order to bring salvation to the world, God sovereignly used a nasty human tragedy to bring a little girl who knew the source of salvation out of Israel, to a nasty man named Naaman. Like C.S. Lewis said, “Suffering is God’s megaphone

Know the Field (Sermon Audio: Wed. P.M.)

Farmers know the field before they plant seed. They know the work to be done to the soil that will enable it to yield a fruitful harvest. In order to share the gospel effectively we must know people. Evangelism requires the cultivating of a relationship pre and post conversion. The information found in Thom Rainer’s The Unchurched Next Door and Will McCraney’s The Art of Personal Evanglism is helpful in understanding the relational aspects of evangelism. People are waiting to hear the gospel. We must get to know them and go tell. Listen to audio

The Twisted Sovereignty of God Part 2 of 3 (Reading 2 Kings 5)

Continued from part 1 The information Naaman needs comes from the most unlikely source, the little girl he owns. If someone captured you, separated you from your family, and forced you into their service would you tell them anything that may save their life? Most of us would want our captors dead. Yet, the little girl talks and the only thing she says in the entire story is the only thing that will save Naaman’s skin. In stark contrast to the little girl’s grace to Naaman is the King of Israel’s reaction. He is suspicious of the war monster Naaman, as he should be. When Elisha heard of the king’s rejection of Naaman he implored the king to let Naaman come for one reason, and one reason alone, “That he may know there is a prophet in Israel.” In the days of Elisha, war mongers used prophets. Reference 2 Kings 3. The only mistake Jehoram made is that he did not consult the prophet prior to his circuitous march. Naaman, most likely, used prophets. Every nation had its gods. Gods have

The Twisted Sovereignty of God Part 1 of 3 (Reading 2 Kings 5)

The story of 1 and 2 Kings is about the slow erosion of Israel’s sovereignty. She has been unfaithful. Soon she will be captured. As the borders begin to collapse there is a recurring theme of God giving victory to Israel’s enemies. God is sovereign over Israel losing its sovereignty. Humans are harsh and unforgiving. One particularly nasty human is Naaman, the commander of the armies of Syria. War is never a beautiful thing. The only apt metaphor for war is Hell. Naaman was great at war. His success is attributed to the most unlikely of sources, “By him the LORD had given victory to Syria (v. 1).” God is sovereign over Naaman's succcess. In the Hell of war there are causalities. One such casualty was a little girl from Israel who was “carried off” during a Syrian raid. Because God made Naaman good at war, a little girl lost her family. The Bible does not neglect to share this horrid detail, but neither does it elaborate on its tragedy. As a father of daughters, little girls, I c

Does God Care? (Sermon Audio: Sunday A.M.)

You have been faithful to God. Yet, resources are dwindling, hope is fading, life has become confusing and you begin to wonder if God really cares. The author of 1 and 2 Kings inserts 4 short stories into the Elisha narrative to send a clear message to the readers, God cares for His people. He is faithful to us, we must remain faithful to Him. God is able to bring life out of death, and restore hope when all seems hopeless. Listen to audio

Participating in Miracles

Most people assume that the formula for a miracle is to do nothing and expect God to do everything. Yet, in almost every miracle recorded in the Bible there is an issued command. Whether it be “go wash”, “go fill”, build a boat, lift a rod, or “wait”, there is something to be done that God uses to usher in the miraculous. If you need a miracle the question is whether or not you are willing to participate? Participating with God is not the “I’ll do anything for You, if . . .” contract. Participating with God is the attitude, “Here am I, send me.” Are you willing to work, sell, or wait as a means of participating in the miraculous? Are you obedient to God’s Word? There are no consolation prizes for disobedience. God does not honor sin. Miracles are not magic as in “poof, there it is.” Miracles are not magic, miracles are miracles. God is certainly capable of the most miraculous, creating something from nothing (Gen. 1). Yet, most often they are the manipulation of the natur

Witness (Sermon Audio: Wed. P.M.)

For most, only slightly more frightening than swimming with sharks is sharing the gospel. How can we effectively communicate the truths of the gospel to the people in our lives? We must immerse ourselves in the story and become witnesses. A witness is someone who participates in an event and stands a proof that it is true. A witness of the gospel should be someone who participates in the gospel and lives as a witness that Christ has risen and He is saving souls. Listen to audio

The Miracle of What You Already Have

It is common for the American psyche to be more preoccupied with what one does not have rather than on what one already possesses. Our testimonies to this are in cluttered garages and an incessant need to rent mini warehouses. We have way too much stuff, yet we are always looking for more. Another testimony to our materialism is our response to the recent recession. We have responded as if buying less is a tragedy. This is a lesson for another day. In times of suffering want, because we are preoccupied with wanting what we do not have, the theme of our prayers is for God to do just that; give us what we do not have. However, in surveying the miracles of Scripture, it seems that God is more interested in working with what you’ve already got. In 2 Kings 4, Elisha asks the widow what she has in her home, and he uses it, plus some of the neighbor’s supply. At Cana (John 2), Jesus used the water jars that were already there to turn water into wine. When Jesus fed the multitudes he

Careless Kings (Sermon Audio: Sunday A.M.)

Careless behavior will render destructive consequences in a person’s life. We walk through life in circles, aimless, and without a sense of purpose. Carelessness often comes as a result of compromise. Because we do not whole heartedly follow God our lives are immoral and powerless. Elisha, on the other hand, is a man of the Word of God. He is discerning and his words are prophetic. If we give ourselves wholeheartedly to our God, the wisdom He provides us will bless our lives and will help us navigate the difficulties of life. Listen to audio

Don't Blame God

Jehoram was the son of Ahab. Ahab was the husband of Jezebel. Jezebel was nasty. When she married Ahab she introduced the Baal cult to Israel. When Ahab died Jehoram became king. The Bible says that he rejected the Baal cult, but “he clung to the sin of Jeroboam (2 Kings 3:3).” He was not a Baalist, but he was idolatrous. In 2 Kings 3:9-12 Jehoram, along with two other kings, march to war. He chose a dry, arid route on his way to Moab. The Bible says he, “made a circuitous march of seven days.” That’s Hebrew for “he didn’t have his GPS on”, he was marching in circles. As a result there was no water for the army or for the animals. They were going to die. All of the sudden, this idolatrous man who does not believe in God, is a believer. You cannot blame a God you don’t believe in. “Alas! The LORD has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab (2 Kings 3:10).” When did your “circuitous” march begin? We tend to leave God out of life, make some bad choices

Monuments to Stupidity

There is a church, whose identity shall remain anonymous, that has a monument to stupidity. It is a massive blob of chaotically shaped, hardened concrete. I can’t remember all of the details, but the monument to stupidity was constructed because of the church’s carelessness. They ordered a load of concrete, but because they could not agree on some critical matters of the project, the site was not ready on the day the concrete arrived. No one cancelled the order. Because it is impossible to return a load of mixed concrete, it had to be dumped. And so, on the edge of their property stands for all to see, the monument to stupidity. We all have our monuments to our not so stellar moments. Decisions made carelessly often lead to monuments of stupidity. God’s people have no excuse for such monuments. The Bible is a wealth of wisdom (Psalm 119:105). Furthermore James teaches, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be

Christian Cocktail

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24) And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful (Matthew 4:18-19) For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica (2 Timothy 4:10). But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power . Avoid such people.(2 Ti