August 26, 2012: Studies, polls and personal observation all confirm that the concept of "church" in western Christianity is in decline. Reasons are probably many: divisions, controversies, traditionalism, man-focused leaders… Let me suggest one more: failure to see the church as God has designed it! Anyone who has watched the popular PBS TV series, Antiques Roadshow, knows that what often looks to be of little value may actually be of very great worth! That is the case with the true church. Today’s lesson points out five reasons the church is the most valuable institution in the history of the world! Click to hear our lesson, "Say YES! to the Church."
May 20, 2012: "The Invisible God" ‒ In the last few years, a militant form of atheism has pushed to the forefront in our culture with claims that religion is only superstition and that no truly intelligent person can justify belief in a Supreme Being. A major part of their attack is based on supposed science and assertions there is no evidence that an invisible Creator exists. Today we begin a study of our faith in the existence of the God of the Bible. Our first lesson notes that (1) we do indeed believe in an invisible God, and (2) we know that invisible is not the same as unreal! Click our message title to listen.
May 27, 2012: "Seeing Him Who Is Invisible" ‒ Not only does the Bible affirm that God is invisible, it forbids anyone even making any object of worship (idol) designed to represent Him. But there is a sense in which we can "see Him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27). Paul said that "we walk by faith and not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7) and "we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things which are not seen" (2 Corinthians 4:18). How can we see the invisible? How do we look at things that are unseen? By faith!
June 3, 2012: "Prepared to Give an Answer" ‒ As Christians began to be persecuted by the pagan Roman culture around them, the Apostle Peter wrote a letter to urge them to (1) keep their glorious hope before them, (2) live exemplary lives despite the abuse, and (3) "always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope you have" (I Peter 3:15). I am convinced that the evidence is available, sufficient and convincing concerning God’s existence and nature. As Peter said, each of us must be equipped to give a reason (answer, defense) for why we believe. Continue reading →
This is a new Sunday morning series of messages designed to help us focus on what and why we sing. While singing seems to be a "given" in church services, it still should be a time of meaningful worship and ministry to each other. Join us as we study together!
March 4, 2012: "Then Sings My Soul: An Introduction" — While worship in the Old Testament Jewish period consisted of many and various activities, holy days, and celebrations, worship in the New Testament is presented to us as much simpler. This early church worship revolved around just five activities: praying, teaching, communion, giving and singing. Why singing? Listen as we begin our study of this mostly overlooked subject.
March 11, 2012: "Then Sings My Soul: The Apostles’ Doctrine" — Acts 2:42 tells us that the church at its very beginning in Jerusalem "continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine…" Our new Testament from Matthew thru Revelation is the record of that teaching (doctrine). So what did they teach? This is a brief overview of what we read in the New Testament about singing, both the teaching and the practice of it. We may be surprised at both how little we are told, and how profound the teaching is. Click our title to listen.
March 18, 2012: "Then Sings My Soul: The Original Sacred Selections" — "Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs," said Paul… but what were these songs like? While no hymnbooks or collections of those first songs have come down to us, Bible translators and church historians believe they can identify parts of several first century hymns within the texts of the New Testament. Click to listen as we talk about and read several of these earliest Christian hymns. Continue reading →
October 30, 2011: ‟Portraits of Jesus: Introduction” — Without argument, more paintings, drawings, images and statues have been made of Jesus than of any other person who has ever lived! Early catacomb images pictured Him with short hair and clean-shaven. Western artists of the Middle Ages up until today give Him longer hair, a beard, and more Western European features. But the truth is, the eye-witness records do not give us one shred of evidence about his actual appearance. Why? The answer is not clear. But this is clear: the gospel writers were not interested in what He looked like – they wanted everyone to know what He WAS like! Welcome to our study entitled, "Portraits of Jesus."
November 6, 2011: "Portrait: The One and Only Son of God" — To "paint" an accurate verbal picture of someone, we have to consider the source of information we will use. Living almost two millenium after Jesus means we rely on the testimony of others. We begin today by considering our sources, then examine the statements that He was the "only begotten" or "only one of his kind" Son of God.
November 13, 2011: "Portrait: In the Image of God (I)" — On two different occasions (John 8 & John 10) Jewish religious leaders wanted to stone Jesus to death because He claimed to be God! This was not only His claim, but the confession of the early church as well. Join us as we begin this two-part examination of how Jesus was "in very nature God" (Philippians 2:6).
November 20, 2011: "Portrait: In the Image of God (II)" — "In Him permanently lived the full measure of all the qualities of God in a human body." This is an amplified translation of Paul’s profession in Colossians 2:9. Perhaps some would think Jesus would reject such majestic superlatives concerning Him. But then we would not be able to explain why He accepted the kind of worship only God should have! Intrigued? Click to listen. Continue reading →
Raised in the most strict Jewish family, educated by the leading rabbi of the day, and well connected with the Sanhedrin leadership, Saul of Tarsus seemed incapable of being touched by the gospel message. . . until that fateful day outside Damascus! This is an extended study of this man who became the most prominent, and perhaps most effective, spokesman for Jesus the world has ever known. Below are listed the messages thus far. Click on the blue icon next to each title to listen.
January 30, 2011: "I, Paul" – introduction to our study, looking at the influence the Apostle Paul has had on the progress of Christianity.
February 6, 2011: "Growing Up Jewish" – what we can know directly and indirectly about Saul’s early life and education.
February 13, 2011: "Zealous for God" – the motivating force for Saul’s life was a deep-seated, but misdirected, desire to please God.
February 20, 2011: "Stephen – A Man Full of God’s Grace" – Saul’s contact with and opposition to Stephen is a turning point.
February 27, 2011: "Like the Face of an Angel" – Saul rejects Stephen’s message and contributes to his murder.
March 6, 2011: "A Blasphemer and a Persecutor" – Paul will later look back on this period in his life and refer to himself in very unflattering terms!
This is our final lesson on Why the Bible (Still) Matters. Today we examine the Bible’s teaching about What Happens After We Die. The Bible is our only reliable source of truth on this most vital topic. From its pages we have both the words of our Creator as well as the only One who has died and gone beyond – then came back to tell us about it! Further He (Jesus) has now gone away into the presence of God but promises He will come back again. To hear more, click the blue button to listen.
Our faith in Jesus Christ is personal, that is, each of us individually must believe in Him. But He intended that our faith also be held in community with others of like faith – and this community is the church. It is only from the Bible that we learn the truth about the church; it is the community of the faithful, committed to the role its Lord has given it. Perhaps the most beautiful statements concerning the purpose of the church are found in Ephesians chapter 3. In verse 10 Paul says that it reveals the "manifold wisdom of God." Then in verses 20-21 he says of God – "to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus." To hear all five of the purposes that the Lord has for the church, click the blue button to listen.
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (I Corinthians 1:18) Another reason Why the Bible (Still) Matters is its message that God has provided a means for all people who are in violation of His laws (called sin!) to be forgiven and reconciled to Him. In the New Testament this is called the gospel, which means great news! And it is! To hear more, click on the blue button.
Today we see that The Bible (Still) Matters when it comes to knowing right and wrong. For thousands of years it has been the source for clear, specific, understandable truth about morals and ethics. The two high points in the Biblical text are the law of Moses from Sinai (Exodus) and the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus (in Matthew). No only do we learn about what is right and wrong before God, but also learn why this is called SIN and that there is a coming JUDGMENT from God. To hear the rest of the lesson, click the blue button.
"Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word. Tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard." — words from the hymn by Fanny Crosby. Far and away, our most exhaustive source of knowledge about Jesus is the Bible. In our study of Why the Bible (Still) Matters, we will see today that the Gospels are significant, first century historical records concerning Jesus. Here we find the truth (1) about His life; (2) about His teachings; (3) about Who He was and is; and (4) about His mission on earth! To hear more of the story of Jesus, click the blue button.