Mission Central Podcast – Your New Life in Christ

These next 2 episodes were recorded while I was preaching in Finland at my friend Shaun’s church, so please forgive the audio. The focus is on the life of believer. We must live as believers, not as unbelievers. That is not who you are anymore. Your identity is in Christ.

Mission Central Podcast

Here are some key points from this episode:

  • Don’t live as if you are still without Christ.
  • You are not that person so embrace your new identity in Christ.

“Mission Central” is available on iTunes, search podcasts for Mission Central.
You can subscribe to receive each new addition in your inbox.

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Mission Central Podcast #005 – Hungering for Righteousness

Today’s episode is Matthew 5:6: “Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, for they will be filled..” Here it is: #005

Here are the key points from this episode:
– If you have no desire for spiritual things then you need to examine whether you are related to God at all.
– Religious people settle for ritual instead of seeking out the higher things – righteousness.

“Mission Central” is available on iTunes, search podcasts for Mission Central.
You can subscribe to receive each new addition in your inbox.

Mission Central Podcast #004 – Blessed are the Gentle/Meek

Today’s episode is Matthew 5:5: “The gentle are blessed,for they will inherit the earth.” Here it is: #004

Here are the key points from this episode:
– This is one of the hardest words to define. It means: gentle, humble, considerate, courteous, under control.
– A good illustration of meekness is David while he is being pursued by Saul.
– The world values the aggressive man who leads an organization with ambition.

“Mission Central” is available on iTunes, search podcasts for Mission Central.
You can subscribe to receive each new addition in your inbox.

Mission Central Podcast #003 – Blessed are those who mourn

Today’s episode is Matthew 5:4: “Those who mourn are blessed,for they will be comforted.” Here it is: #003

There are several key points in today’s episode:
– He isn’t talking about mourning a loved one, but mourning your own sin.
– We should mourn over the loss of innocence, personal integrity, self-respect.
– True joy will not precede the conviction of sin.

“Mission Central” is available on iTunes, search podcasts for Mission Central.
You can subscribe to receive each new addition in your inbox.

Mission Central Podcast #002 – The Poor in Spirit

Today’s episode is Matthew 5:3: “The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.” Here it is: #002

There are several key points in today’s episode:
– We must realize our own need for Christ, this pushes us to repentance and faith.
– We must realize that everyone else also has this need, this pushes us to evangelism.
– The world says you have everything you need to accomplish great thing, You need nothing.
– Salvation is only for those who recognize their own spiritual poverty and trust in Christ.

“Mission Central” is available on iTunes, search podcasts for Mission Central.

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Expectations, Life, and Christmas

Thinking this morning about part of the message I preached this past Sunday, Christmas Eve 2017.

While working through the Christmas story found in Luke 2 it occurred to me that things didn’t work out the way Mary and Joseph probably thought they would. They probably thought their baby would be born at home, in the safety and security of their bedroom, with a familiar midwife helping with the delivery. It would be what we might consider the best of circumstances, but for them it was normal. There would be water nearby. It would be clean. Family would come to help. Their support system would kick in and life would be pretty normal, with the exception of having to raise the Son of God.

But a census command by Caesar Augustus changed everything. Now they had to travel when they didn’t want to travel. It was late in the pregnancy and travel would not be recommended, especially by donkey. They had to stay where they didn’t want to stay. Even after traveling, perhaps things wouldn’t be so bad if they could find a nice place to stay. But with so many others also going to Bethlehem there was no place for them to stay. I have no doubt Joseph worked hard to find some place, any place, indoors at least.

There would be no indoor birthing room. A dark, damp stable became their hospital room. A pile of hay the birthing bed. A feeding trough became a baby bed. It was outdoor, unsanitary, unhealthy, and they were feeling unwelcome.

Life often does not live up to our expectations.

Each of us can point to things in our lives that haven’t gone as we expected. There are hopes that have been dashed and dreams that have been set aside or cancelled. Maybe even your family Christmas gathering that you hoped would bring family unity turned out to be awkward and difficult. Our kids don’t do what we hoped. Our parents don’t do as we wished. Our friends fall away. We let ourselves down. Circumstances sometimes seem to be conspiring against us with concerted anger. Nothing seems as easy as it ought to be. Life isn’t turning out the way we thought it would.

What do you do? How do you respond? Quit? Take out your frustration on others? Get angry? Get even?

Consider this young couple in Bethlehem with no family around at the birth of their first born, sitting alone in a cave (stable) with their young child laying in the feeding trough. How had they envisioned the birth of the one they knew to be the Son of God? What did they think would happen?

Even when we may not understand how or why, we must remember this: Just because it didn’t work out the way you thought doesn’t mean that God is not at work.

It may not be the way you would’ve done it, but that doesn’t mean that God isn’t working. His ways are not our ways. Trust Him. Know that He works in all things (Romans 8:28) to accomplish His purposes in His way.

When life seems to not be meeting your expectations, take a moment to look around and try to figure out what God might be up to. Don’t quit and don’t get angry. Realize that God has a plan for your life and that He is working to accomplish His will in you and through you. Trust Him and trust His plan.

Why didn’t He tell Paul to begin with?

Yesterday I preached at Spring Baptist Church (video will be on later this week) from Acts 16:6-10, where Paul and Silas are seeking God’s will as they embark on Paul’s second missionary journey. They try to go to Asia, then to Bithynia and end up in Troas where Paul has a vision of a Macedonian man asking them to bring the gospel to Macedonia.

It occurred to me in between services that there was one question I hadn’t talked about in the first service. I addressed it briefly in the second one and I thought I’d throw out some thoughts on it here: Why didn’t God just give Paul the vision to begin with instead of letting them walk around the desert for a couple of weeks?

This is a question most of us ask when we are searching for God’s will. We just want God to give us the directions now, show us the road map and we’ll get on our way. But most often the process of finding His will is a journey, not a moment.

I can’t say I know the answer to the question, but I can think of some possibilities:
1. The search forced Paul to seek God and not rely merely on his past experience.
2. Paul’s call was going to be so dramatically different that the Lord had to get Paul in the right spot to be ready to listen.
3. Paul’s experience was as much for Silas, and maybe us, as it was for Paul. We needed to see the lesson found in the journey of Paul. So maybe it wasn’t about Paul at all, but about us.

I’m sure there are other reasons but these are a few I thought of this morning.