THE AFTERLIFE | The Truth About Heaven

THE AFTERLIFE | The Truth About Heaven
John 14:1-3 - Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.

If you’re a follower of God, you should be excited about that!

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the churches in Philippi proclaimed,

Philippians 3:14 - “I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.”

Heaven is the prize for all those who believe!

Heaven is better.

THE AFTERLIFE | The Truth About Hell

THE AFTERLIFE | The Truth About Hell

I. Heaven and Hell

Matthew 25:46 - “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”

A. I never hear much doubt about heaven.

  • When faced with tragedy most people talk about going to a better place.
  • When if heaven exist. 81% yes 13% no

B. Talking about heaven is easy 

  • Talking about hell not so much. Did you know there is more verses where Jesus teaches about Hell than Heaven?

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE | Embracing Your Response-Ability

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE | Embracing Your Response-Ability

Scriptures: Matthew 25:14-30

Idea: To whom something is given, something is required.

Are you taking responsibility for your opportunities, or are you taking them for granted? If every good thing comes from God, then there’s a reason you have it and some accountability for it.

  • One thing we all said as kids: “That’s not fair!” To which our parents responded, “Life’s not fair.”
  • Unfair really means “uneven.”
  • Unfair/uneven can quickly become an excuse for irresponsibility.
  • The real issue is not, Is it fair or how do you make it fair? The question is, How will you respond? 

You are responsible for your responses.

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE | This is No Time to Pray

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE | This is No Time to Pray

Genesis 15:16, Joshua 7

I. Today’s text addresses several dynamics. 

1. Religious people who pass our responsibility off on God.  

  • Prayer feels proactive. 
  • Maybe God’s waiting’ on us.

2. It addresses tolerant people who don’t want to hold people responsible because it feels harsh—we call them the enablers.

  • He’s got a good heart. She has been through a rough patch. 

3. Those of you who feel like you are reaping what someone else has sown. 

  • Are you reaping what someone else has sown? Probably. Irresponsibility is a community affair. 

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE | The Disproportionate Life

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE | The Disproportionate Life

Question: Am I taking responsibility for my life . . . really?

Ar-ka-mee’-dees Principle explains why some things float and other things sink. It’s the principle of buoyancy: a body immersed in liquid receives an upward thrust from the bottom equal to the weight of the displaced liquid. A 5 oz. pebble sinks and a 30,000-ton battleship floats. Archimedes was an inventor and mathematician. But he did not invent this principle. He discovered it.

Today, I want to talk about a principle that is operating in all our lives that when acknowledged and leveraged empowers/motivates us to TAKE responsibility:

People reap what they sow.

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE | The Blame Game

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE | The Blame Game

Genesis 1:27–29, Genesis 3:8–13

I. 3 reasons we need to ask the question “Am I taking responsibility for my life?”.

#1 We live in a culture of increasing irresponsibility.

  • Irresponsibility is celebrated in our culture.
  • I have the right to do what I want and say what I want but you don’t have the right to hold me accountable.

#2 It’s contagious. Why should I continue to act responsibly when it seems to be more beneficial not to? 

  • Now people profit from their irresponsibility. Why should I miss out on that? 
  • What’s rewarded is repeated. 

#3 Every time an individual refuses to take responsibility for something he is responsible for, someone else is forced to pick up his responsibility. 

  • Any time a group, a family, a company, a person, we are talking about personal responsibility, refuse to be responsible it causes conflict.

THE BOOKS OF SAMUEL | Week Fourteen

THE BOOKS OF SAMUEL | Week Fourteen

Where is Your Courage | 1 Samuel 17

1 Samuel 17:1-51 - The Philistines now mustered their army for battle and camped between Socoh in Judah and Azekah at Ephes-dammim. 2 Saul countered by gathering his Israelite troops near the valley of Elah. 3 So the Philistines and Israelites faced each other on opposite hills, with the valley between them. 4 Then Goliath, a Philistine champion from Gath, came out of the Philistine ranks to face the forces of Israel. He was over nine feet[a] tall! 5 He wore a bronze helmet, and his bronze coat of mail weighed 125 pounds. 6 He also wore bronze leg armor, and he carried a bronze javelin on his shoulder. 7 The shaft of his spear was as heavy and thick as a weaver’s beam, tipped with an iron spearhead that weighed 15 pounds. His armor bearer walked ahead of him carrying a shield. 8 Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. “Why are you all coming out to fight?” he called. “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me! 9 If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! 10 I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!” 11 When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken. 12 Now David was the son of a man named Jesse, an Ephrathite from Bethlehem in the land of Judah. Jesse was an old man at that time, and he had eight sons. 13 Jesse’s three oldest sons Eliab, Abinadab, and Shimea had already joined Saul’s army to fight the Philistines. 14 David was the youngest son. David’s three oldest brothers stayed with Saul’s army, 15 but David went back and forth so he could help his father with the sheep in Bethlehem. 16 For forty days, every morning and evening, the Philistine champion strutted in front of the Israelite army. 17 One day Jesse said to David, “Take this basket of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread, and carry them quickly to your brothers. 18 And give these ten cuts of cheese to their captain. See how your brothers are getting along, and bring back a report on how they are doing.” 19 David’s brothers were with Saul and the Israelite army at the valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines. 20 So David left the sheep with another shepherd and set out early the next morning with the gifts, as Jesse had directed him. He arrived at the camp just as the Israelite army was leaving for the battlefield with shouts and battle cries. 21 Soon the Israelite and Philistine forces stood facing each other, army against army. 22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies and hurried out to the ranks to greet his brothers. 23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, came out from the Philistine ranks. Then David heard him shout his usual taunt to the army of Israel. 24 As soon as the Israelite army saw him, they began to run away in fright. 25 “Have you seen the giant?” the men asked. “He comes out each day to defy Israel. The king has offered a huge reward to anyone who kills him. He will give that man one of his daughters for a wife, and the man’s entire family will be exempted from paying taxes!” 26 David asked the soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his defiance of Israel? Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” 27 And these men gave David the same reply. They said, “Yes, that is the reward for killing him.” 28 But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. “What are you doing around here anyway?” he demanded. “What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!” 29 “What have I done now?” David replied. “I was only asking a question!” 30 He walked over to some others and asked them the same thing and received the same answer. 31 Then David’s question was reported to King Saul, and the king sent for him. 32 “Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!” 33 “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.” 34 But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, 35 I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. 36 I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! 37 The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!” 38 Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. 39 David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. “I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again. 40 He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them into his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started across the valley to fight the Philistine. 41 Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him, 42 sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy. 43 “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. 44 “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled. 45 David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! 47 And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” 48 As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. 49 Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground. 50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword. 51 Then David ran over and pulled Goliath’s sword from its sheath. David used it to kill him and cut off his head.

I. What David and Goliath Is Not About

A. Many think David’s defeat of Goliath is a story of personal courage in the face of overwhelming odds. 

  • They see David as the archetypal underdog, an Old Testament Rocky Balboa, standing up to an arrogant, powerful enemy. 
  • They see him as a self-confident, independent young man who was brave enough to fight for what was right.

B. Is that what this story is about?

THE BOOKS OF SAMUEL | Week Thirteen

THE BOOKS OF SAMUEL | Week Thirteen

A Heart Like His | 1 Samuel 16:1-13

1 Samuel 16:1-13 - Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.” 2 But Samuel asked, “How can I do that? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.” “Take a heifer with you,” the Lord replied, “and say that you have come to make a sacrifice to the Lord. 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you which of his sons to anoint for me.” 4 So Samuel did as the Lord instructed. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town came trembling to meet him. “What’s wrong?” they asked. “Do you come in peace?” 5 “Yes,” Samuel replied. “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then Samuel performed the purification rite for Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice, too. 6 When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 8 Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to step forward and walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “This is not the one the Lord has chosen.” 9 Next Jesse summoned Shimea, but Samuel said, “Neither is this the one the Lord has chosen.” 10 In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 11 Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.” “Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.” 12 So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes. And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.” 13 So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.

I. A body like his or hers

A. Our society is obsessed with physical appearance.

  • THE GYM, people are more faithful to it than the church. The church is your spiritual gym.
  • Billions of dollars are spent each year in the health and fitness industries.

B. I am all for physical fitness and being in shape.

  • God has another standard.
1 Samuel 16:7 - But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
  • Man places a high price on the externals; God examines deep within that man for something more.

THE BOOKS OF SAMUEL | Week Twelve

THE BOOKS OF SAMUEL | Week Twelve

Obedience is Not a Beast of Burden | 1 Samuel 15

I. Is backsliding in the Bible?

A. Some say the Bible doesn’t talk about backsliding

  • In reading the history of Israel and Judah, we see one generation after another backsliding against the Lord. God told Hosea, "My people are bent to backsliding from me..." (Hosea 11:7). In Hebrew, the meaning is, "My people are in the habit of turning their backs and withdrawing from me. They've always had this tendency and we do too!"
  • Jeremiah's frequent heart-cry was:
"Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married to you..." (Jeremiah 3:14).
"O Lord...our iniquities testify against us...for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee" (Jeremiah14:7).
"(Jerusalem's) transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased" (Jeremiah 5:6).