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Monday, July 15, 2019

Soul Food A-La-Carte Issue 23

If you haven't subscribed to the podcast yet, give it a try. We heard very positive feedback from subscribers on the new format!

For those unfamiliar with how to subscribe to a podcast--just go to the app store on your android (iPhones already have a podcast app), and search for "podcast app." My favorite is Podcast Addict. Once you install the app, search for Food For Your Soul. Select the one that has our wheat logo and the SermonAudio square around it. Once you subscribe, your phone should get the new content every weekday. Let me know if you have any trouble. 

Also--I didn't do the audio recording of me reading the blog this time. I don't know if anyone listens to it. If you did, and you find it helpful, please let me know.

PART 1: How to Reduce Anxiety (Highly Recommended)

"From Anxiety to Peace"

Sermon on 1 Peter 5:7

[item title="Why listen to this sermon? (Click here to expand...)"]Peter’s reason for why we can cast our cares on God is the fact that God cares for us. You can offload a task onto someone else, but the anxiety about it stays on your plate until you are convinced that person is 1) competent and 2) that he cares about it as much as you do. This message will help you go deeper in your understanding of how much God cares about the little things in your life that cause anxiety and offers practical steps for how to cast your anxieties on God.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt"]If your concept of God's love is easy to understand, then your concept is probably not very accurate, because according to Ephesians 3, understanding the love of God requires a special work of divine enablement.

Ephesians 3:16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power... 17 ...I pray that you ... 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge

It takes a massive work of divine enablement for you to even begin to understand the dimensions of God's love.[/item]

PART 2: How to be Happy When You Are Mistreated (Recommended)

"Rejoice and Be Glad!" 

Sermon on Matthew 5:12

[item title="Why listen to this sermon? (Click to expand)"]Jesus’ warnings about persecution were extremely earnest. If we are not prepared ahead of time, we will not be able to endure and remain faithful when serious persecution comes. This message will show you how to prepare for se ere persecution by learning how to rejoice over small persecutions. And it will inspire you by the example of others who have persevered.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt 1"]I was convicted this week at how little I have been motivated by this promise. I somehow passed it off to just refer to the most extreme forms of persecution, and so I didn’t apply the principle to my little, tiny sufferings. I gave a costly gift to a friend and he accused me of sending it with evil motives. Such a small “persecution” for such a small act of righteousness—I didn’t think of it as persecution. But if I fail to recognize it as persecution I will fail to obey the command to rejoice and be glad over it. And if I do not learn how to rejoice and be glad over small persecution how will I ever learn to rejoice over big persecution? Step one in preparing yourself for what is coming is to train your heart to rejoice at absolutely any and every instance of persecution. No matter how big or small it is, develop a reflex, every time you receive any kind of mistreatment because of righteousness, of rejoicing and celebrating.[/item]
[item title="Excerpt 2"]Someone once said, “Memory supplies the colors with which hope paints her most wonderful pictures.”[/item]

PART 3: Sermon on How to Be  Good Witness (Recommended)

Sermon on Matthew 5:13

[item title="Why listen to this sermon? (Click here to expand...)"]Salt had a lot of uses in the ancient world. Which one of them did Jesus have in mind when he used the analogy of salt and light? This message will give you both insight and motivation on how to be a good witness at work and in the world.[/item]

PART 4: "Designed to Shine" (Recommended)

[item title="Why listen to this sermon? (Click here to expand...)"]When Jesus called us the light of the world, that was a metaphor. This message will help you interpret the metaphor and understand how to live it out in practical ways.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt 1"]The metaphor of light refers to truth being exposed as beautiful and desirable, resulting in righteousness and joy.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt 2"]Somewhere deep down inside unbeleivers is a hunger for God. But at the same time their flesh has a hunger for Hollywood and Madison Avenue. They have a hunger for God and they have an appetite for the glitz and glitter of this world. And when we try to use the glitz and glitter of this world to attract them into the church, we are appealing to the wrong part of them. We are appealing to the very part of them that keeps them from God. We need to appeal to that hunger for God – and the way to do that is by living righteous lives and speaking the truth of God’s Word.

That was exactly the strategy Jesus used in the beatitudes. They present the gospel in such a way that it will be appealing to those who have a heart for God and repulsive to those who do not. People with humble, ready hearts hear the beatitudes as fantastic promises. People with proud, full, self-confident hearts hear the beatitudes as a rebuke. And that is Jesus’ model for how to present His message. The modern approach of presenting the gospel in a way that sounds appealing to everyone is a mistake.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt 3"]We are the salt of the earth, not the sugar of the earth.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt 4"]Living as salt and light does not mean complaining about the darkness. When all we do is complain about the darkness of the world in some ways we are indicting ourselves. If the sun goes down and a house is completely dark you do not criticize the house for being dark. You just ask, “Why aren’t the lamps on?” And that is especially true if you are the lamp! Why would a lamp complain about how dark the room is? If it is dark, then it is because the lamp is not doing its job. The world is dark only by our permission.  … Each time we are tempted to complain about the darkness of the world I think we would do well to ask ourselves, “Am I at least doing my part in lighting the place up?” Probably if we all put as much energy into lighting the world up as we do complaining about the darkness, there might not be as much darkness to complain about.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt 5"]Faith is not a leap in the dark; it’s a step into the light.[/item]
[item title="Excerpt 6"][/item]
[item title="Excerpt 1"][/item]

PART 5: "Living for the Glory of God" (Highly Recommended)
[item title="Why listen to this sermon? (Click here to expand...)"]We all know that we should live for the glory of God every moment of every day. But how is that done? How can you eat a snack or drive to work or do the laundry or answer phone in ways that glory God? This message will help you think through those things and provide motivation to focus less of your attention on causing people to be impressed with you, and more on impressing people with God.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt 1"]God does not strand His people – He situates them.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt 2"]It is a dark world, but as much as we hate the evil and despise the darkness, we are not surprised when God situates us in dark places because that is where lamps are most useful. … A lamp is most useful where it’s darkest, so don’t be surprised if God situates you where you’re going to be most useful. Where else would God put a lamp?[/item]
[item title="Excerpt 6"][/item]
[item title="Excerpt 1"][/item]

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Soul Food A-La-Carte Issue 22


PART 1: Ecclesiastes   Part 1 (Highly Recommended)

"Enjoy Your Ice Cream Cone" 

Sermon on Ecclesiastes 1:1-3, 2:24-25

[item title="Why listen to this sermon? (Click to expand)"]No matter how wisely you live, you can’t control outcomes. The world calls it bad luck. Christians call it hard providence. Whatever you call it, this sermon will help you learn how to enjoy whatever moment of God’s perfect plan you are currently in.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt"]To find answers to all our questions about why things happen would be absolute futility. And it would rob us of the very thing we are seeking—happiness and a good life. [/item]

PART 2: Ecclesiastes   Part 2 (Recommended)


Sermon on Ecclesiastes 1:4-2:26

[item title="Why listen to this sermon? (Click here to expand...)"]Why is it that sometimes you are capable of enjoying God’s gifts, and other times you just can’t seem to get any enjoyment out of those very same gifts? And if we are to find our joy in the Lord, what role do the pleasures of this world play? This message will give you perspective on how God wants you to view the delights of this world, and how to increase your enjoyment of life in ways that draw you nearer to God instead of replacing God with earthly pleasures.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt #1"]Make it your goal this week to never enjoy anything in a way that does not increase your love for God.[/item]
[item title="Excerpt #2"]One of the most life-changing- realizations I have had in a long time was when I realized that the ability to enjoy anything is a special gift from God. Most of my life, all I ever did was thank God for the thing I was enjoying, rather than the ability to enjoy it.[/item]
[item title="Excerpt #3"]When you do something you normally love but this time you can’t seem to enjoy it, please understand—that is the norm. That is not a mental illness, it is not a disorder, it is just normal life in a cursed, fallen world. It is the natural state of affairs. If you do something for fun, and it isn’t fun - you cannot seem to enjoy it - that is like going to MacDonald’s and you order a burger, and that’s all you get is a burger. There is no $100 bill tucked inside your bag. Is that a big shock? No, that is the norm. If you find a $100 bill in there, that means someone gave you a special gift that was not part of the deal when you ordered the burger. The pleasures of this world are like the hamburger. The ability to enjoy them is like the $100 bill.[/item]

PART 3: Ecclesiastes Part 3 (Highly Recommended)

Sermon on Ecclesiastes 2:24-26

[item title="Why listen to this sermon? (Click here to expand...)"]Is there any Biblical reason why we should ever watch a movie or a ball game? Or go on vacation or play a game or have some dessert? Or take $2000 that could feed a third world family for a year and spend it on a kitchen remodel? Is it ever OK to do any of that, and if so, when?

This message presents a biblical theology of how to properly enjoy God’s earthly gifts without falling into the dreadful error of saying, “Christians should find a healthy balance between glorifying God on the one hand, and enjoying earthly pleasures on the other.[/item]
[item title="Excerpt"]It is possible to use earthly pleasure to enjoy God, and it is possible to use God to enjoy the earthly pleasure. And the difference has everything to do with love. … The key to enjoying God’s gifts in a way that increases your love for God is found in relational enjoyment as opposed to selfish enjoyment. (Relational enjoyment is another way of describing gratitude.[/item]

PART 4: "Knowing the Unseen God" (Recommended)

[item title="Why listen to this sermon? (Click here to expand...)"]We all know God loves us, but do you know the purpose of that love—what God wants his love for you to accomplish? This message warns of some wrong answers to that question, then reveals the answer John gives, which will help you in your efforts to love people.

This message also has a refutation of agnosticism.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt"]You are a steward of God’s love for you.  ...  If some generous friend came up to you and said, “I know you are struggling financially, but I want you and your wife to be able to get away.  So here’s $5000.  Take it and go make your wife really happy this weekend.”  If you take that money and buy yourself a Rolex watch, that money is not fulfilling its intended purpose.  It is the same situation with God’s love.  God gives you His love and says, “Here, take this and go make My people really happy.”  So if we don’t love the people of God, God’s love for us is not accomplishing its purpose.[/item]

Monday, June 17, 2019

Soul Food A-La-Carte Issue 21


PART 1: Most Recent Study (Highly Recommended)

"Finders Weepers Losers Keepers" 

Sermon on Mark 8:34-38

[item title="Why listen to this sermon? (Click to expand)"]What does it mean, in practical terms, to deny yourself and take up your cross? And how can it help you in your daily battle against sin?[/item]

[item title="Excerpt #1"]You are a radical, fundamentalist, extremist Christian or you are a non-Christian[/item]

[item title="Excerpt #2"]People title this passage, "The Cost of Discipleship," but it could just as well be called, "The Cost of Non-Discipleship." Jesus wants us to compare costs.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt #3"]Have you noticed how unapologetic Jesus is when he makes demands like this? In ch.10 Peter’s going to tell Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you,” which was true. How does Jesus respond? Did he say, “Oh, I’m so sorry you had to suffer such a loss. Are you okay?”

No, basically he said, “You’re welcome.” He told them, “You’re going to receive 100 times what you gave up now, and eternal life later. You haven’t lost anything.” There are no martyrs in the kingdom of God.[/item]

PART 2: Night of Worship (Highly Recommended)

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God 

Video on the wonders in the heavens

PART 3: "Seeing God" (Highly Recommended)

[item title="Why listen to this sermon? (Click here to expand...)"]I believe this is one of the most important sermons I've ever preached--especially the first half, which describes what "seeing" an invisible God means, and the specific ways in which seeing God transforms your character. The rest of the message is about how to see God through purity of heart.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt #1"]It is not sinful actions that soil the heart – it is unfaithfulness to God.[/item]

PART 4: "Happy are the Hungry" (Recommended)

[item title="Why listen to this sermon? (Click here to expand...)"]Few concepts in the Bible are more important than righteousness. It’s crucial that we know what righteousness is. The entire Sermon on the Mount is on the topic of righteousness. This message offers a clear, detailed definition of righteousness. There are also so very encouraging remarks about the reason why believers hunger and thirst for righteousness (it’s because we crave God’s favor).[/item]

PART 5: Blessed are the Merciful" (Recommended)

[item title="Why listen to this sermon? (Click here to expand...)"]This message is a summary of the whole biblical teaching on the subject of mercy. And it will help you understand with clarity the difference between what Jesus called “the weightier matters of the law” and the less weighty ones.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt #1"]It is the one with power who must show mercy. For example, maybe someone is telling lies about you and that person has a large, widespread hearing. They have the power; you don’t. You need them to show you mercy.

But then at one point you get into a conversation with a couple friends who are on your side. And they are listening to you, and no one is there to defend the other guy while you talk. These friends are going to form their opinion based on what you say. Now you have the power and that guy needs you to show him mercy.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt #2"]The mercy we receive when Jesus returns will be so sweet that we will be glad we suffered. You will be glad the horrible things that happened to you happened to you.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt #3"]Wouldn’t you agree that one of the most staggering truths in the universe is the fact that our blessings outnumber our sins?[/item]

Friday, June 7, 2019

Click here for this week's blog Issue 20 - Errors corrected


Part 1

Bible Study this Saturday--burgers, dogs, and Mark 8:34-38

Part 2

"Move That Bus!" Sermon on Matthew 5:3. How to find joy in your neediness.

Part 3

"Happy Are the Sad" Sermon on Matthew 5:4. How to draw near to God in hardship.

Part 4

"How to Love People More" Sermon on James 2:5-7. If you just try to be more friendly, it probably won’t change your behavior much. But if you ...

Part 5

"Judgment please, hold the mercy" - That's what we're saying to God when we ...


"Finders Weepers" 

Grilled Burgers and Dogs ... oh, and Bible Study!

What does it mean, in practical terms, to deny yourself and take up your cross? And how can it help you in your daily battle against sin?

[item title="Click here for details.."]Join us this Saturday, June 8 to study Mark 8:34-38. Dinner at 5:00 and Bible study at 6:00. We will provide burgers and hot dogs. If you join us for dinner, please bring a dessert, salad, or side to share.[/item]

The Right Side of the Bus 

Sermon on Matthew 5:3

[item title="Why listen to this sermon? Click here to expand..."]When a marvelous gift is unveiled, would you rather be the one watching the unveiling with tears of joy? 

Or the one being unveiled and applauded? 

This message shows how to find the greatest joy through lowliness, humility, and neediness.

Happy Are the Sad

Sermon on Matthew 5:4

[item title="Why listen to this sermon? Click here to expand..."]No one feels good after a failure. But how is the sorrow of a child of God different? And why does Jesus pronounce a blessing on people who feel that way? This message will help you draw near to God through times of hardship.

[item title="Excerpt 1 - Click here to expand..."]If you are in sin, hardship should drive you to repentance. If you are not in sin, hardship should drive you to seek God as your refuge.

[item title="Excerpt 2..."]The grief of true repentance is not just feeling sad about your failure. Everybody feels bad about their failures. … Godly sorrow is not sorrow over my displeasure with myself; Godly sorrow is sorrow over God’s displeasure with me.

[item title="Excerpt 3..."]You can tell who the god of your life is by whose disapproval you will do anything to avoid. A Christian is someone who would rather live with anyone else’s displeasure than have God unhappy with them.

[item title="Excerpt 4..."]The mourning and grieving of repentance is not just personal – between you and you; it is relational – between you and God. And that is why when it is genuine godly sorrow it always turns you toward God and never away from Him.

[item title="Excerpt 5..."]There are some people who have a hard time imagining being happy even in heaven because their sorrows run so deep that it seems to them that they would still be miserable even in happy, pleasant surroundings. What they do not understand is the fact that nobody is going to be happy in heaven because of the surroundings. Surroundings alone could never keep anyone happy for very long. You are going to be happy there because of the interactions you have with God. God is not going to just throw you into a paradise and say, “Have fun.” He is going to comfort you. This word for comfort means to approach or be near. It will be a direct, personal interaction with God Himself that will bring comfort and joy to your soul.

Sermon on James 2:5-7

[item title="Why listen to this sermon? Click to expand ..."]The key to loving people and treating them the way God wants us to treat them lies in what we value. If you just try to be more friendly, it probably won’t change your behavior much. But if you change what you value and how you look at people, that will have an automatic change in your behavior long term. This passage will help shape those values.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt 1 Click to expand ..."]This Sunday at church, greet at least two different people with Hebrews 13:2 in mind (showing hospitality with the possibility in mind that it could be an angel).[/item]

[item title="Excerpt 2 Click to expand ..."]
Everything in the world is mine. Whether it’s a car or a mansion or a mountain or an ocean – it’s all mine. I may not have the keys just yet, but the title is in my name. So why be impressed with those who temporarily have the keys, but don’t have the title? Imagine an orphan who has been adopted into the family of a billionaire, and he is one week away from all the papers being signed and moving into the big mansion. One week away – but when the day comes, he is nowhere to be found. He was so envious of his friends who had skateboards and video games and all kinds of things that he never had, he decided to run away from his foster home and try to pursue some of those things. That is what we are like when we lose sight of our inheritance and we become impatient and go running after the world’s trinkets. When you see someone who is rich in this world, don’t envy them. Feel sorry for them because their riches are so small. When you hear about somebody winning the lottery, you can think, “I won the lottery, too. The only difference is, the jackpot I got is so much bigger than the one he got – poor guy. He only gets his temporarily and then it will all be taken away. But I get mine forever.[/item]

"Judgment please, hold the mercy" - That's what we're saying to God when we are unmerciful to others. 

Sermon on James 2:8-13

[item title="Why listen to this sermon? Click to expand ..."]Showing mercy means giving people what they need rather than what they deserve. This message will help you enjoy receiving God’s mercy every day and will motivate you to show mercy to others—especially in your thoughts toward people.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt 1 Click to expand ..."]If you want to judge people – knock yourself out, but just make sure that when you are done, what they deserve is lower in your priorities than what they need.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt 2 Click to expand ..."]
Thomas Watson: “We ourselves live upon alms. Other created things generously contribute to our needs. The sun does not have its light for itself but for us; it enriches us with its golden beams. The earth brings us a fruitful crop … One creature gives us wool, another oil, another silk. We are eagerly willing to go a-begging to the creation. Shall every creature be for the good of man and man only be for himself? How absurd and irrational is this!”

You and I are the ultimate charity cases. Every breath we take is a gift of charity. We are poor, miserable beggars who will die if the atmosphere does not give us a handout every single time we need a breath of oxygen. This whole created world is nothing but one giant machine for the dispensing of mercy from every direction at every moment. What an absurdity it is when I stand out as the one created thing that fails to dispense God’s mercy! If I am the one part of what God created that doesn’t give. When we do that we become a tear in the fabric of the entire created order. Mankind is the crowning glory of all that God created – and so what a travesty it is when we become the one gear in the machine that turns in the opposite direction and damages and destroys the whole process! But on the other hand, how beautiful and fitting it is when we display God’s mercy, because when we do so it is a far greater picture of God’s nature than the sun or the soil or the atmosphere, because unlike the sun and the earth we can show God’s mercy willingly and with a heart of intentional love and worship. We can do it like God does it.[/item]

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Soul Food A-La-Carte Issue 19


(The audio player does not show on the email, but if you go to the blog page here, you can listen).

Sermon on Psalm 139:5-12

[item title="Why listen to this sermon? Click to expand ..."]
This sermon is for people who feel far from God or who struggle to enjoy God’s nearness. David contemplates the nearness of God in dark times to the point where it blows David’s mind.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt 1 Click to expand ..."]
God’s hand on your shoulder

Psalm 139:5 ... You have laid your hand upon me.

Picture yourself as a soldier in Israel's army in the time of David. You are advancing into hand-to-hand combat, and it’s not going well. All around you there are fewer and fewer Israelites and more and more Philistines. You are exhausted, you can barely even lift your sword, and you are fully expecting that any moment you will feel the thrust of a steel blade right through your body. But what you feel instead is a hand on your shoulder. You look over, and it's King David. He has his sword in his left hand, cutting down the enemy all around you. But his right hand is on your shoulder, reassuring you and strengthening you and giving you courage. 

It is a very personal image. God is not like "the force" in Star Wars. He lays His hand upon you.[/item]

[item title="Excerpt 2 Click to expand ..."]
Description of God’s presence

He will be with you in death, and He is with you in life - no matter how bad things get. He will be there on your darkest day. Even in the time of God’s most severe chastisement for your sin - even in the middle of your driest desert, God’s tender, gracious, life-giving, life-supporting, strengthening, encouraging, motivating, awe-inspiring, healing, upholding, guiding, enlightening, delightful, joy-giving, soul-satisfying presence is there supplying what you need.[/item]

5 insights from Jesus on how to become more motivated to prefer future treasure over present impulses (from Mt.6:19-24)

[item title="Click to expand ..."]
1) Preach to your own heart constantly about how inadequate temporal pleasures are to satisfy (v.19)

2) Spend time thinking about the value of eternal reward (v.20).

3) Pour your resources into heaven, because where your treasure is there your heart will be (v.21).

4) Look at everything in life through eternal lenses (vv.22-23).

5) Draw crystal clear lines in your mind between temporal rewards and eternal rewards (v.24).[/item]

Is it possible that Noah's flood was local? Here are four reasons I say no ...

[item title="Click here to read or click below to listen.."] I believe there is a lot of biblical evidence pointing to a global flood, and no biblical evidence pointing to a local flood. It is argued that the Hebrew word for "earth" simply means "land" and in some contexts refers only to the land of Israel. That is true. However the flood account doesn't just say that the earth/land was flooded. It says "all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits." (Gn.7:19-20)

1) The description is as universal as it can be. If Moses desired to communicate a world-wide flood, what kind of language could he have possibly used beyond "all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits"?

2) If it were a local flood, why the ark? Why not just send Noah to a dry place during that time?

3) God promised Noah that he would never again flood the whole earth. But if it's a local flood, it seems that promise was broken because many times there have been local floods since then.

4) According to 1 Pe.3:6-7, Peter warns of the universal judgment that's coming when Christ returns and states that it will be like Noah's flood. So if the flood was local, that would leave room for Judgment Day to be local, and for the destructions of the heavens and earth after the Second Coming to be local. Then people in the United States wouldn't have to worry about Judgment Day because it's only for the Middle East.

There’s really no reason to assume a local flood other than pressure from unbelievers who do not accept the authority of Scripture. When there is a conflict between Scripture and scientific theories, we should adjust our understanding of science to fit the Bible, not the other way around—especially in cases like this, where the Bible is clear and straightforward, and the science is sketchy to say the least (trying to piece together mountains of data and speculate about what didn’t happen thousands of years ago). If you want to know what happened back then, just trust what God says. He was there.[/item]

Warning! Anything in the world can, without warning, become a spiritual danger. For years Jesus walked ...

[item title="Read more ..."] For years Jesus walked around Israel and rocks were just ... rocks. Then one day they became a major temptation (Mt.4:3). 

For those who don't believe in a personal devil, I would ask--how did that happen? Jesus didn't have a sin nature, so how did ordinary rocks suddenly become a serious spiritual danger if not by a tempter?[/item]

The pro-life position argues that what is in the womb is human. That's an understatement. Just 15 minutes consideration of what a fetus actually is will fill you with awe of your Creator.

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Soul Food A-La-Carte Issue 23

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