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Category: Preaching (page 1 of 2)



ColossiansThis morning I was reading Colossians 2 and verse eight stood out to me. This verse has been highlighted in my Bible for years now. Many years ago, as I spoke with a friend who was leaving his wife this passage came to my attention as my friend used all manner of worldly thinking and ideology to justify and explain to me why he had suddenly lost interest and was no longer in love with his wife. He used philosophy and so-called wisdom based on the elemental principles of the world as his basis for why what he was doing was not only ok to do, but the only right thing to do. I believe was taken captive by a philosophy which was unable to provide any legitimate substance or foundation for rational thinking.

We have to tendency to lean towards philosophies or ways of thinking that allow us to justify our actions. We tend to use our desires and actions to interpret Scriptures, rather than allowing Scripture to interpret how we should live. This is what my friend did. This is why Paul cautions us to not be taken captive by hollow, empty, deceitful philosophy. That sentence was very loaded. Let me try to break it down.

Paul warns us to not be taken captive. In the original Greek language, which Paul would have written this, the idea is to not be robbed. He says, look out, keep watch so that you may not be robbed. Don’t let your clear, rational thinking be taken captive or robbed from you. Do not let your thought processes be hijacked and stolen from you. Use your critical thinking and rational thought skills (which I would argue are inherent, built-in aspects of our existence thanks to being made ‘in the image of God’ who possesses critical thinking and rational thought) to see through the empty philosophy.

Paul says, what has taken us captive is empty or hollow. The word is empty, meaning there is nothing to it. No substance. Hollow. Valueless, no merit, nothing inside. As I glance across my desk I see my coffee mug. It is empty. There is nothing inside it. Right now, that has no value. It has nothing in it. At 0646, the mug might as well be dead to me. The mug has zero value to it, because the value it brings is contingent upon Empty mugwhat fills it. Philosophy, a word we get by through the combining of one of the Greek words for ‘love’ and the Greek word for ‘wisdom’, so the loving of wisdom must have substance to it. The philosophy or the train of thinking about wisdom have be full of something, not hollow or it is useless.

Paul goes on to describe the philosophy which has taken us captive as deceitful. In the original Greek text, the words empty and deceit follow each other. The text literally reads, empty deceit according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world. There is much here, but I want to focus on the deceitful aspect. What makes it deceitful? Its emptiness. The fact that it is hollow and promises what it can not deliver. Just like my coffee mug is deceiving into thinking it has value, when it does not because it is empty. So is the philosophy which has bewitched us. It promises big, but delivers nothing. It is deceit because it has no value or substance to it.

It would be presumptuous for me to speak for you, but I don’t want to be taken captive by anything let alone anything which is empty or hollow. Imagine waking up one day, years from now and realizing you have been chasing a hollow, empty dream. Your whole life, everything you put into that pursuit is wasted, all for nothing. Paul is giving us a wake up call to pay attention to the things we place our trust in and what we rely on. Are we trusting in philosophies which are empty and deceitful because they are empty? Are we placing our trust in something of value, something which is not empty? Clearly, Paul is making a subtle argument for placing one’s faith and trust in God and relying on him to find the values and meaning we need to navigate through life. Trust in God is the only thing in the end providing the lasting meaning we crave. There is no other philosophy or tradition providing meaning and purpose equal to what God provides, because God has no equal.

We need to heed the warning and not allow ourselves to be taken captive by empty, deceitful philosophy. We need to place our faith, hope and trust in God each day. We need to allow the Word of God to light our path and direct our steps. (Bet you didn’t expect a theology lesson this morning!)

What empty, deceitful philosophy do you let creep in and distract you?

Bible is lightsaber

The Lie of Worthlessness


Many of us can relate to feelings of worthless.

We can can’t we?
It may look a little different, but we can relate. We’ve had similar experiences of feeling worthless.
We are in week 2 of our series The Lies We Believe and today we are going to tackle the Lie that I believe most easily, and maybe you do too… it is the lie of WORTHLESSNESS.
John introduced us to this tries last week and he reminded us that we are WAR! Everyday we fight a battle to be free… free from the lies that Satan tries to convince us are truths about who are. They are not TRUTHS, they are LIES.
But the lies feel so right, don’t they? The feel like truth… They feel like they fit.
And they feel so right because Satan is so good at lying
And this makes sense that they are lies because Scriptures teach us that Satan is:

  • The father of lies-John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. “
  • The Deceiver-Rev 12:9- “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” Martin Luther said – “Due to his great intellect, extensive experience, ability to present evil as something beautiful…his craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal.”
  • On 35 different occasion in Scripture he is referred to as “the devil” which means “slanderer”
  • And 52x, he is referred to as “Satan” which means “adversary.”

He is a powerful enemy that we need not fear. John referenced 1 Peter 5:8, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. And then went on to say he was a toothless lion because he has been defeated.

Today, as I said we are going to unpack the CORE LIE of WORTHLESSNESS:
What do we mean when we say that something is worthless?
  • it has no value
  • it isn’t worth my time
  • it is unwanted
  • it is unnecessary
Now there are some things that actually are worthless.. the Buell Blast. They make me angry… I don’t know why.
There are many things that give us value, make us feel worth in our lives…
  • family
  • friends
  • work
  • hobbies
  • cars we drive
  • things we own
  • money
  • skills/talents
  • God is the ONLY real source of value –
These other things we use for finding value fade away, disappoint us but God is the only thing that can stand the test of time and really offer us value and worth.
How much are we worth to God? God was willing to die for us. Romans 5:8 –
Unfortunately, Satan is adept at using good things in our life, twist them and use for evil purposes.
2 Corinthians tells us – “for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
There are at least four steps in overcoming the lie of worthlessness. Let’s take a look at them.
STEP 1 – The Source
  • The first step in beginning to overcome and buy the lie of worthlessness is finding the source
  • Where did this lie creep in?
  • Was it through family relationships?
  • Friendships?
  • Was it when you lost a job?
  • What was it for you?
  • For me it was a downward spiral that started with a bad church experience (elaboration on this)… this church experience left me feeling as though I was not worth the fight… my skills/talents weren’t worth it… I couldn’t do it… I couldn’t cut it in ministry… I was nothing…
  • Once this lie got its hooks in, the downward spiral became a rapid define in self-worth, self-value and belief in my abilities to accomplish anything that let me depressed and hopeless.
  • It became such an ingrained part of who I was that I accepted it as truth, as reality.
It is not reality. I am not worthless. But I believed it anyway.
Theres something insidious that happens when we begin to believe the lie… we begin to benefit from it. We start gain from the lie.
STEP 2 – The Benefit
  • What do you get from believing the lie?
  • How does it serve you?
  • It serves me by not making me responsible
  • Here’s how it works – if I am worthless, then no one expects anything from me… which is great because if they don’t expect anything from me, they can’t be disappointed in me when I don’t measure up…
  • Sometimes it feels good to be worthless – no one ever expects anything from me
  • No expectations, no failures
STEP 3 – The Cost
  • What would it cost to no longer buy the lie?
  • What would it cost me to no longer live in this false reality, this fake identity?
  • What did it cost God to save me from this lie?
  • His Son…
STEP 4 – Real Value
  • Matthew 16:26 shows that the soul is more valuable than the whole world because it’s eternal…but that’s probably valuable to us. And here it gets crazy when you think about our value, it doesn’t make sense.
  • Matthew 6:26 says we have more worth than birds, but hey, that’s not saying much. (Have fun with that)
  • David asked in Psalm 8, when he saw the beauty of the stars he didn’t get why God would set His love upon humanity.
  • Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus went to the cross to defeat Satan. We went there to save us from the LIES Satan tries to convince us are truths about our identity.
We don’t need to buy the lie because Jesus bought us with his blood.
What happened at the cross: by paying for our sin, Jesus disarmed Satan, triumphing over him and publicly displayed his power, purchasing our freedom.
We can be free!

the Power of Prayer

I had a great day yesterday speaking at Huntsville Christian Church where my buddy is the pastor. He asked me to speak on the power of prayer. Later this week, the message will be posted on their website… but for now here are my notes. Hopefully, they are coherent and make sense. If you have any questions or want more info, just hit me up on email. When the audio is ready, I will post it up too (at least a link to it).

Power of Prayer – HCC – 7.29.12

  1. I want to start by reading Mt. 6:1-15, follow along with me as I read:
  2. PRAY
  3. Jesus’ disciple came to ask him to teach them how to pray, not how to heal, not how to baptize, how to organize life groups, how to reach the lost, how to fill a church calendar, how to survive a board mtg… how to pray
  4. They must have thought this to be very important… of all the things they could ask Jesus, this is what they asked him.
  5. I want to make a few observations about prayer this morning… for some of us, this may be nothing new, if not I am sorry… but hopefully it will remind us of why we pray and the need for us to pray, expecting that God will answer us in our prayers.
  6. Think about how awesome it is to pray… we are talking to God, the creator of everything. Gen. 1 says that God spoke everything from nothing… all he did was open his mouth and everything came into existence.
  7. Not only has God given us the opportunity to pray, but he wants us to. He wants to talk to him, he wants us to get to know him
  8. I know it is cliche, but prayer is simply talking to God, it is simply getting to know him better, it is allowing him to speak to us.
  9. What do you think of when you think of prayer? I think of some specific things:
  10. James 5:16 – the prayer of a righteous man avails much… then i think that is not me… but it is! It is us! The blood of Jesus covers us and God now sees his righteousness on us and so we are that righteous man!
  11. 1 Thess. 5:17 – pray without ceasing… an attitude of prayer about everything.
  12. Paul constantly praying for his people
  13. Acts 2:42 devoting themselves to gathering together for the breaking of bread, for the apostle’s teaching and to prayer… a vital part of their lives.
  14. How about that parable Jesus told about that one lady who would stop asking the judge to the point where she was persistently annoying?
  15. I think about some myths we have about prayer:
  16. NO and NOT NOW are still answers to prayer… we sometimes think that if God doesn’t give us what we want or think we need, he isn’t listening… reality it is he may be saying NO or NOT NOW… think about your children, is NO an answer? Of course.
  17. My best defense against this myth is Mt. 7 where Jesus says if your child asks for bread you wouldn’t give hime a stone, if he asks for a fish you wouldn’t give him a snake, so your heavenly father give gifts that are good and good for you.
  18. we know better… sometimes we dilute ourselves into thinking we know better… really? We know better than the dude who created everything out of nothing by simply speaking? yeah!
  19. We sometimes think prayer is INACTION. Are we crazy? It is the most action-oriented thing we can do… we are asking God to intervene, asking the creator of everything to step in
  20. the last myth is that God isn’t listening… simply not true. Jesus plainly says ask and you will receive, this would be a terrible joke if he wasn’t listening or an incredible weapon if he is.
  21. Eph. 6:18 – Armor of God… first sermon… big guns… Prayer is the POWER
  22. Let’s go back to Mt. 6:1-15 for just a few minutes and work out 4 keys to having powerful prayer –
    1. Don’t be a hypocrite – pray to God and no one else
    2. Don’t say a bunch of un-needed words – keep it simple, God already knows and we aren’t going to impress him with big words.
    3. Be direct – just tell what is on your heart, he isn’t afraid of anything you are going to say
    4. Formula – Praise him, ask for what you NEED, ask him to forgive you as you forgive others… forgiveness is key
  1. Why bother asking? Mt. 21:22 whatever we ask in prayer with faith God will give us… the point here is prayer is a powerful weapon for us to use in the fight against sin and we often forget about it altogether and don’t use
  2. God wants us to ask him… the images he uses to describe himself are things like a GOOD FATHER who gives GOOD GIFTS and the GOOD SHEPHERD who cares for his sheep
  3. We have a powerful weapon in prayer… we are asking the CREATOR of  everything to intervene and work in our lives…
  4. Here’s my favorite part of prayer – no one else can answer them… God is the only one… so why aren’t we praying more, expecting God to answer?
  5. I think it is time we start, right now
  6. PRAY.

Taboo: Racism

I had the opportunity to speak on the giant topic of Racism during our Taboo series we recently concluded at H2O Church. I feel like this is one of the hardest messages I have ever given, not because I struggle with racism but because I understand and feel the weight of this issue in our culture. After having given this message, I feel like it is one of my better ones. I have the audio posted for you. In the middle of the message you will hear the audio of the new video by John Piper, Bloodlines. I had nothing to do with that entire video and give John Piper complete and total credit for that video. Let me know what you think!

My Turkey, My Messiah

On the Sunday after Thanksgiving I had the chance to speak again at H2O Church Orlando. My message was entitled, “My Turkey, My Messiah” and I had intended to draw some connections and conclusions between the sacrifice of the turkey and the sacrifice of our Messiah. The morning of the message, as I was going over it a final time I felt God giving me a new message.

I hate it when that happens.

So, I scrapped the message I had written and quickly scribbled the words God had given me. I will at some point actually type them and then post the syntax.

That Sunday at H2O, we tried something that had never been done at church before… we videoed the message. So your treat for today is to get to watch the message as it unfolds.

Let me know what you think:


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