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June 18th, 2017

Thy Kingdom Come

His kingdom will come because we prayed. 

Revelation 8:1-12

 

The kingdom of God

The title of the sermon today, “Thy Kingdom Come,” is obviously borrowed from the Lord’s Prayer, and at the end of the sermon we’re going to pray the Lord’s Prayer in an unusual form. What do we mean by the “kingdom of God”? The simplest definition is this:  the kingdom of God is where God reigns. It’s where God is completely in charge. Thus the kingdom of God is in you – if you let the Lord rule in your life. The kingdom of God is also the church – his people, where he rules, now. But the kingdom of God won’t be fully realized until the end of the age. God won’t fully reign in all things until after the second coming of Jesus.

As I envision the kingdom, I’m indebted to Pastor Leon Rowland, who worships here regularly, for loaning me a series of sermons preached many years ago by John Ortberg. I’m sure they were preached “many years ago” because they’re recorded on cassette tape. The sermons are on the Lord’s Prayer, and the one that gripped me Friday was on the petition, “Your kingdom come.” Ortberg has me thinking about what I personally look forward to when God takes charge of everything. Read more »

June 11th, 2017

Amen!!!!!

Won’t it be deeply satisfying to join in the great multitude of perfection and success?

Revelation 7:9-17

 

The whole &%$! point

Today’s passage in Revelation got me so excited in Bible study this past week that I cussed. I never cuss, and later emailed the group to apologize for my language. What got me excited was the heart of this vision of heaven and the joys that await believers in the Lord’s presence. What made me cuss was how easy it is to miss that great truth.

The book of Revelation in general, and chapter 7 in particular, tends to raise some disagreements among Christians. Read more »

June 4th, 2017

How Long?

Patience while waiting also teaches me wisdom when doing. 

Revelation 6:1-11

 

Introvert Island

It’s good to be back from what I like to call affectionately “Introvert Island,” aka Bald Head Island (BHI). It’s a place that feels very much cut off from the world, especially on the eastern end of the island. Bald Head has no fast food restaurants, no mini-golf or movie theater, no amusement park or aquarium.

On Wednesday of this past week I rode the golf cart up to the market. When I came out there were three adults who looked like they were in their 70s, staring at the BHI map. I asked them if I could help them find something. As if they were teenagers, one of them said, “We’re bored.” Read more »

May 22nd, 2017

The self-reliance we strive for might be the worst thing that ever happened to us.

 Revelation 3:14-22

May 21, 2017

The sermon I need to hear

Sometimes the sermon I plan to preach is the sermon I need to hear.  The past few months at Corinth have presented one set of “over and above” challenges after another – 40-50 meetings about the Capital Campaign in January, forty Confirmation appointments in February, meeting with sixty people who attended the March Pastor’s Class, and three difficult funerals on Saturdays since Easter weekend.  There are some responsibilities that seem to fall uniquely on my shoulders as senior pastor.  More of them cropped up in the past six weeks, and I needed to rise to the challenge.  Or did I?

In preparation for this sermon, I came across a blog titled, “A Self-Reliant, Self-Sufficient America is a Safe and Secure America.”  Here is the heart of the key sentence:   “For the majority of our history…America as a nation was…self-reliant and self-sufficient.”   A historian might argue for or against that statement.  A pastor needs to ask, “Is that a good thing?”  Is it good for a nation to be self-reliant and self-sufficient?

Let’s bring that closer to home.  Is it healthy for a church to be “self-reliant and self-sufficient”?  What about families?  Individuals?  Is the best thing for people and communities to have responsibility and opportunity unhindered by others? Read more »

May 20th, 2017

Last week, Ed and Susan Pearce came face to face with a parent’s worst nightmare – not only the loss of their child, but at his own hand.  No one brings a child in the world with even a faint imagination that someday that child will come to believe his own life is not worth living out to its natural end.

Many people, parents or not, would respond to that circumstance, as well as to the years that led up to that moment, with diminished faith, or even with the complete loss of all reason to believe.  Knowing Ed and Susan, it doesn’t surprise me that their faith has only become stronger.  Susan texted me this morning:  “It is well with our souls.”  That’s crazy talk, unless you know Jesus.

I want to suggest for you today that Matthew Pearce’s life, his illness, and even his death all offer reasons to believe. Read more »