Tuesday, March 29, 2016

War Room - New sermon series about prayer (a blog post for a sermon to be preached at Kenwood Church, Livonia, MI on April 3, 2016)

This past fall Paula and I went to see "War Room" in our local theater.  You never know what you are going to get when you see a "Christian" movie.  Many are well meaning but poorly done.  Some have promise but fall short.  "War Room" delivers!

This movie convicts and moves you toward action.  It does not make you feel guilty and then leave you alone in your misery.  This movie gives you the conviction to change.  This move encourages you to give it one more try.  This movie is awesome.

Over the next 4 weeks, we will be talking about prayer on Sunday morning and working to find ways to make prayer a vital part of our lives as individuals and as a family of God.  Join us this Sunday as we start to build our own War Room.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

RISEN - Easter Service at 9:30 a.m. Sunday (a blog post for a sermon to be preached at Kenwood Church, Livonia, MI on March 27, 2016)

As we gather to remember the resurrection of our Lord, we pray our faith family might join together in the unity and jubilation of the day.  Our service will be at 9:30 a.m.  We pray you can join us for a great celebration of God's love and grace.

His servant,


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

RISEN - The Jesus Who Wants You Fully Alive (a blog post for a sermon to be preached at Kenwood Church, Livonia, MI on March 27, 2016)

Irenaeus, an early church theologian, wrote, "The glory of God is a human being fully alive."

The resurrection of Jesus brings new life to our old self that we might be fully alive.  Thanks be to God for the power of Easter!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

RISEN - The Victim Good Friday Became the Victor Easter (a blog post for a sermon to be preached at Kenwood Church, Livonia, MI on March 20, 2016)

From Rocky to those improbable victories your kid's little league baseball team won, we have an infatuation with come from behind stories.  We love it when the basketball team come from 5 points down with 2 minutes left to win the game.  We enjoy our team rallying in the 9th to grab victory from the jaws of defeat.  We can't get enough of the Hail Mary play at the end of the fourth quarter in football.  We love to see the improbable become reality.

Resurrection may be the ultimate comeback story.

Our experience tells us that when someone is gone, really gone; they don't come back.  No matter how much we loved them, need them, cherish them, count on them, revere them, they will not come back.  There is a finality in death.

That is why our story, the Easter story, His resurrection story is so powerful.  It takes our experience and turns it on its head.  The ending we have come to accept is not the ending at all.  Not only did Jesus come back like Lazarus, but He came back like no other.  He came back and went to the Father.  He overcame death.  Lazarus came back but did not overcome.  Jesus was victorious over death.  Jesus came back.

That is OUR hope.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

RISEN - The Greatest Comeback Ever (a blog post for a sermon to be preached at Kenwood Church, Livonia, MI on March 20, 2016)

John 11:25, 26

25Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Do you believe this?

DO you believe this?

Do YOU believe this?

Do you BELIEVE this?

Do you believe THIS?


Which point of emphasis expresses your greatest inner question?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

RISEN - My Hope (a blogpost for a sermon to be preached at Kenwood Church in Livonia, MI, on March 13, 2016)

The question of the reality of Jesus' resurrection is simply answered for me by the change in my personal life.  I believe that the resurrection of Jesus has become a reality in my life through my baptism.  This connection to baptism has released me from slavery.  I am free.  As Paul puts it in Romans 6.

1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin.
      8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
      12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
      15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! 16Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
      20For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. 22But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

RISEN - Miracle (a blogpost for a sermon to be preached at Kenwood Church in Livonia, MI, on March 13, 2016)

In this age of science, we learn every day that we don't know everything.  In fact, some days we learn that what we thought was fact is actually fiction (i.e. Pluto is a planet.)  We discover often in our technologically driven world that old patterns of thinking, while held as conventional for many years, may in fact not be correct.

What if the old notions that there are no miracles, everything has a natural cause and effect, our universe has no connection to a spirit world beyond our grasp, God is dead are all faulty.  What if the idea that our universe is a closed system is wrong?  What if the idea that there is no God is an outdated idea?  What if the synchronization of science and faith just simply isn't possible?  What if denial of the existence of God is just a remnant of the fallen thinking of people who do not want to see what is right before their eyes?

What if . . .

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

RISEN - Resurrection: Myth or Miracle? (a blogpost for a sermon to be preached at Kenwood Church in Livonia, MI, on March 13, 2016)

How would you prove that the resurrection is a myth or a miracle?  Could you do it?  Can it be done?  
I maintain that proving either would take faith.  You would have to trust in something to make your case.  Your proof would be founded by some element of a belief system.  

I choose faith in the miracle of God.  I choose that truth because my faith demonstrates the reality of that choice.  I know that Jesus came back from the dead because my faith informs my life in Christ of the power of the resurrection.  I share in his resurrection and have been changed by that power.  I am my own proof.  

How could someone prove that it is a myth?  A scroll with a confession of a contrived Sunday miracle, a 2000 year old videotape, an ancient tree that started to speak, a telescope focused on Jerusalem that could look back through time, etc.  It would take a stand upon ones convictions that the miracle could not have happened which would be as much a leap of faith as my personal leap of faith.

If I must leap, then let me leap with God.  For those of you who must leap without God, I hope there is someone to catch you when you land.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

RISEN - Be Careful Who You Hang Out With (a blogpost for a sermon to be preached at Kenwood Church in Livonia, MI, on March 6, 2016)

I remember telling my son that he needed to be careful about who he hung out with.  As parents, we were concerned that he might spend too much time with the wrong crowd.  We weren't helicopters parents, but we were close.  We only had one kid, and we only wanted the best for him.  

My son has a beautiful heart.  He loves people sincerely.  He cares for people at a very deep level.  He sees the best when others only see the worst.  He has always loved "the least of these."  His friends have often been different than we would have chosen, but they are his friends, not ours.

I wonder how many family members thought the disciples were following the wrong crowd.  Jesus hung out with undesirable prostitutes, the sick, tax collectors, sinners, etc.  What did the parents of the day think about these folk who were following this Messiah?  When Jesus was arrested, tried, and executed, what do you think the families of his followers thought when they still proclaimed the message of Jesus?  After the day of Pentecost, I am sure that many loving moms and dads were shaking their heads and praying for their children.

I might have concerns for my son's friends, but none of them would knowingly lead him to his death.  Jesus led his followers down a path that led to the eventual death of many of them.  And He knew it.  Are you sure you want to hang out with this Jesus?

What would your mom think?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

RISEN - Forsaking It All (a blogpost for a sermon to be preached at Kenwood Church in Livonia, MI, on March 6, 2016)

Jesus did not play it safe.  He challenged the powerful, called out the hypocritical, proclaimed unpopular truth, bowed to no one, answered honestly, and encouraged others to follow His lead. Some may say that Jesus' actions took Him down a very predictable path.

Jesus' words in John 20:21, "Peace be with you!  As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."