Devoted to Gospel Doctrine and Godliness
Trained by Gospel Doctrine for Godliness
Protecting Gospel Doctrine and Godliness
Entrusted with Gospel Doctrine for Godliness
Acceptable Worship: In Submission
Acceptable Worship: In Doctrine
Acceptable Worship: In Marriage and Money
Acceptable Worship: In Community
Faith in the Midst of Doubt
Confident Prayer in the Midst of Chaos
Do Not Forsake Me, O LORD
Fellow Workers for the Truth
God's Loving Fatherly Discipline
Risen Christ, Burning Hearts
Faith that Conquers and Suffers
Faith for Risky Obedience
Christ Our Hope In Life And Death
The Approachable Face of God
Session 2: The Church of God: How Biblical Church Polity Protects and Proclaims the Gospel
Session 1: The Word of God: Why the Church’s Ministry Must Be Built on the Expository Preaching of God’s Word
Session 3: The Next 50 Years: Looking Back, Looking Forward
The Fate of Non-Attenders
The Resurrection and the Life: Memorial for Jacqueline Dela Cruz
From the Nations, to the Nations
The Parable of the Ten Talents
The Widow, the Pharisee & the Tax Collector
The Word and the Glory of Christ
The Parables of the Feasts
The Parable of the Rich Fool
Jesus Our Great High Priest
Steadfast Faith: In Action
Steadfast Faith: Against Deception
Steadfast Faith: In Affliction
God Has Spoken in His Son
A Lamp Shining in a Dark Place
Declaring the Mystery of Christ
Teach Us To Number Our Days
The Church Planter's Ministry
The Divine Design: In Church (Part 2)
The Divine Design: In Church (Part 1)
The Divine Design: Manhood
The Divine Design: Womanhood
The Divine Design: In Creation
The Divine Design: In Marriage
The Community of Discipleship
The God Who Makes Us Clean
The Blood of Bulls and Goats
Life in God's Presence: Leviticus Overview
A Fountain Filled with Blood
Searching the Motives of the Heart
Lift Up Your Eyes and See
The Pastor’s Gladness and the Church’s Gain
Good and Comforting Words
Death in Adam, Life in Christ
United for Gospel Mission
Day of Small Things, Day of Big Promises
Who Shall Separate Us From the Love of Christ?
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
God Delights in Diversity of Worship
Power and Danger in Your Mouth
Too Much Talk, Not Enough Walk
God's Goodness in Trials and Temptations
Faith Under Fire: Introduction to James
The Beauty of Christian Unity
The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
Journeying Out of the Depths
Afflicted, But Not Abandoned
Do You Trust a Keeper or a Sleeper?
Deliverance from Distress
The Horrible, Glorious Cross
The Vine and the Branches
Light and Momentary Afflictions in Honor of Mark Sellers
A Long Distance Relationship
Betrayed, Denied and Glorified
Working Out as God Works In
Life through Death, Glory through Shame
The Resurrection and the Life
Though I Was Blind, Now I See
We Have Come to Worship Him
The Woman Who Tried to Kill Christmas
Profile of a False Disciple
Surprising Grace and Greed
Hope for Failed Evangelists
God's Compassion in Our Desperation
The Word of Life and Judgment
How Not to Respond to Jesus
Who's in Charge Around Here?
Who's in Charge Around Here?
Practice Good or Practice Evil
Is There No God in Israel?
The Exceeding Sinfulness of Sin
What Are You Doing Here, Elijah?
Great is Thy Fury, Great is Thy Faithfulness
Why Do the Innocent Suffer?
The Mysterious Music of Love
Strength for a Little While
Shepherds for God's Flock
Leave Behind and Look Ahead
The Rewards of Perseverance
Unity and Righteousness in Tough Times
Submission and Honour in Marriage
Endurance without Compromise
Called to Unjust Suffering
A New Temple, A New People
Saved for Holiness and Love
Building a House for God's Glory
Living as God's Chosen People
Joy in Suffering for the Gospel
God's Provision Through Faithful Saints
Cultivating a Christ-like Culture
Warning: Wolves Among You
Come join us for a special New Year's Eve service. We'll have some special testimonies from church members of God's faithfulness in 2018, along with singing, prayer, and a short sermon.
Limitless God, Limited Man
Two Gates, Two Trees, Two Builders
Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah
Two Treasures, One Eye, and Two Masters
TPC Session 4 - Suffering and the Sovereignty of God
Plenary session 4 from the international True Prosperity Conference at ECC
TPC - What is the Prosperity Gospel and Why is it a Problem?
Plenary Session 1 at the international True Prosperity Conference held at ECC
TPC Session 2 - True Prosperity: The Biblical Understanding of What the Gospel Brings Us
Plenary Session 2 at the international True Prosperity Conference held at ECC
TPC Session 3 - Key Prosperity Texts and How to Interpret Them
Plenary session 3 from the international True Prosperity Conference at ECC
In this passage, we see God’s commitment to save his chosen people but also his sovereignty and justice–He will harden Pharaoh’s heart and kill the firstborn of Egypt to redeem Israel, his firstborn. We also see God’s holiness — He seeks to put Moses to death because Moses has not been faithful to the covenant by leaving his son uncircumcised. The bloody rite of circumcision turns away God’s wrath. Throughout the passage, we see shadows of Christ — the theme of Israel as “firstborn” points to Jesus as the true pre-eminent chosen Son of God, who dies to save God’s people. Moses as a flawed mediator points to Jesus as the perfect and faithful mediator who keeps God’s covenant. And the blood ritual of circumcision points forward to the “cutting off” of Jesus, who pours out his blood to save sinners and circumcises the hearts of God’s people.
In Matthew 5:10-12, Jesus continues to tell us some surprising things about his upside-down kingdom. He says to rejoice when we are persecuted and reviled! Would you rejoice in persecution? Are you prepared if it happens to you?
The journey of faith in Jesus can sometimes feel less like a pleasant walk and more like a wild roastercoaster ride, full of jarring ups and downs, where we are strapped in and at the mercy of the track. We face difficult circumstances and so we pray. Things seem to be improving and then suddenly what he hoped was going to happen falls apart. We try one solution but it leads to new problems. So it was with Moses. His first attempts at being Israel’s deliverer completely backfire. He fails to deliver, his people reject him, and he flees Egypt. Yet our hope is not in the moment-by-moment circumstances. Instead, our hope is in God himself who hears, and remembers and sees.
As Jesus begins to describe what citizens of his kingdom are like, we see many surprises and differences compared with the kingdoms we see. Blessed are the meek? Those who mourn? What kind of kingdom is this? Jesus tells us that these are the people who belong to his kingdom.
Jesus warned his disciples that if the world hated him, then the world would hate them as well. While we as Christians may enjoy sunny seasons of tolerance and good relationships with the society around us, we shouldn’t be surprised when the dark clouds of persecution come and our culture views us as a threat. And yet we can be confident that no matter how hostile a people may be against the church, God will cause his purposes to prevail and his people to multiply.
What does it mean to be citizen of the kingdom of heaven? Jesus answers this question in Matthew 5
Exodus is the epic story of God saving Israel from slavery in Egypt and leading them to Mt. Sinai to be his own covenant people. In this book we see God’s faithfulness to Abraham, his sovereignty over nature and nations, his awesome holiness and his fatherly love. God’s redeeming of Israel from bondage is truly the defining saving event in the Old Testament. And yet the story doesn’t stop there. Exodus anticipates and foreshadows the greater salvation that would come through Jesus Christ.
These days skepticism is in and certainty is out, especially in religious matters. You will seem enlightened when you doubt and question, but naive and unsophisticated when you express certainty about spiritual things. How can we really know if there really is a God, and if so which one is it? Is there really a heaven to gain and a hell to escape? How could we possibly have assurance we are headed to the one and avoiding the other? Yet in study of 1 John, God wants us to know for certain how we can know him and have hope of eternal life.
We love love! Everyone wants to be loved or find true love. But what is love? John tells us that God is love, and then describes what God's love is like. We want to be careful not to lower God's love to how our world defines it, because God's love is far greater and when we understand God's love, it leads us to show our love in powerful ways.
Don't Believe Everything You Hear
We are bombarded by voices in our lives. It seems like we are hearing messages from every direction, telling us what to buy, what to wear, where to eat, and so on. In the global Church, we have access to more teachers and preachers than ever before in history. It's amazing! And it's overwhelming. Who should we listen to? Who should we follow? Which church is right? In 1 John 4, God gives us a warning and some tools to discern the true Spirit of God from the impostors and deceivers.
We know that Jesus said to love one another, but what does that really look like? 1 John 3:11-24 sets the standard high for our love for fellow believers. It’s more than just warm feelings and kind words, it’s ongoing actions that actually provide a clear marker of our faith in Jesus Christ.
The Children of God and the Children of the Devil
How do we tell apart the children of God from the children of the devil? In today's passage, John gives us a key mark of a true Christian
The Antichrists and the Anointed
Sometimes believers can get comfortable and drop our guard, forgetting that we are in the final stage of history. All around us there are counterfeit gospels and false teachings that seek to lure us away from the truth. All around us are denials of the deity of Jesus and his saving sacrifice for sinners but all true believers have the anointing of the Holy Spirit who teaches us to discern truth from error by the Word of God.
We live in a world that constantly bombards us with messages and promises of a better life. However, 1 John 2:12
Do you know God? If you say “yes,” then how do you know that you know him? On what basis can a person who claims to be a Christian know for certain that they truly know God and have hope of eternal life? Do we know that we know God if we have had a mystical or supernatural experience? Do we know that we know God if we have learned Christianity theology or attend a church regularly? Today’s text focuses on a simple yet telling evidence of real Christianity: we know we have come to know him if we keep his commands, and one command in particular.
1 John 1:5-2:2 tells us the powerful truth that God is light. What does that mean? It also tells us that we are to walk in light. What does that mean? How do we do that? And what about the times that we fall into sin and darkness? Come and let's consider together how we can walk in the light in our day to day life in this world.
Marks of a True Christian
How do you know if you’re a Christian? Are you a Christian if you were raised in a Christian family, or baptized as a child? Does walking to the front of a church service during an evangelistic “altar call” make you a Christian? This question is critical for helping real Christians deal with doubts about their salvation. It’s also vital for challenging nominal Christians to reevaluate their confidence. 1 John deals extensively with this question. It was written so that we may know whether we truly have eternal life.
When we speak about the Kingdom of God and living in the Kingdom, this is something that has come and is coming. How do we live in a Kingdom here but not here? How can we trust a King who has come and is coming? This week we will looking at our trust levels and anxiety levels when it comes to understanding God’s provision for us.
Do you want to start a lively discussion among church members? Ask them what they think of their church’s music. Everyone seems to have strong opinions and preferences when it comes to the music we sing and hear in church. Some extol the old hymns for their rich lyrics and familiar melodies. Others yearn for their church to sing the latest praise and worship hits of the top Christians artists. What instrumentation is best? Piano and organ, or drums and guitar or perhaps it’s better to sing everything a capella? Yet in this endless debate over our preferences, we lose sight of a startling fact: when the New Testament describes the church’s singing, it describes it as something we primarily do for one another.
Jesus gave his church two ceremonies as part of our public worship: baptism and communion. These beautiful rituals communicate a lot. They are visible pictures of the gospel message, and they symbolize both the beginning of our new life in Jesus (baptism) and our ongoing dependence on Jesus (communion). They do something else very critical to corporate worship. They publicly mark out who the worshiping community is.
When we think of worshiping God, we often focus on the things that we say and do to praise God, like singing, praying, giving and serving and for good reason. An important part of corporate worship involves us speaking words and doing actions that bring praise to God but what if the most worshipful thing we can do is to be quiet, listen and receive? Have you ever thought that listening attentively to a sermon and allowing God to speak through the Bible might the greatest act of corporate worship we can perform?
Jesus says that when we pray, we should go into our room and shut the door. Certainly, private prayer is an important spiritual discipline and yet, prayer is one of the most important things we do together as a body as well. As we study the Lord's Prayer together, we'll see how prayer unites us together in the body in a special way, as we turn our eyes off of ourselves, and onto our Father in heaven and one another.
Serving Like Our Servant King
We often view "worship" as how we individually serve God. However, the Gospel of John gives us a slightly different picture: true worshippers of Jesus follow in the footsteps of their King
Financial giving is a difficult topic for churches. Some pastors never talk about money or offerings at all for fear of offending. Other pastors seem to preach on giving every week, even making great promises of financial breakthroughs to people who will donate to their church. Christians themselves seem confused about why to give. Some give in order to get something back from God. Others do it out of guilt or habit. Still others contribute money as a means of controlling a local church or boasting of their righteousness and generosity but biblical giving should be something else entirely. It should be an act of corporate worship.
What do we need for corporate worship? What is required for our congregational praise gatherings? We might answer that question by thinking about practical considerations. Perhaps you would say we need a piano, guitar or even a pipe organ. Maybe you would say we need a sacred space, a “house of God,” complete with pews, a cross on the wall and a large pulpit. Do we need candles to set the mood? Actually, you can have corporate worship without any of those things but there is something that God demands of our worship, both in the Old and New Testaments. He requires holy worshipers.
Sometimes on a Friday morning children ask their parents, “Do I have to go to church?” Sometimes adults wonder the same thing. Why is it so important to gather regularly for worship with the congregation? Why not just stay at home, read your Bible, and enjoy your personal relationship with Jesus? This week begins a six-week sermon series on “corporate worship.” We will examine why corporate worship is an essential part of the Christian life, and what we should do when we gather together.
Trusting God in Troubling Times
Can you trust God, even when life doesn't make sense, when the times are troubling? Habakkuk the prophet approached God with some bold complaints, as he did not understand what God was doing. How does God bring Habakkuk to a place of trusting Him? Will you trust God in these troubling times?
Today we will consider the conclusion of Acts and at first glance, Acts seems to end in a strange way. Paul reaches Rome as a prisoner and continues to preach, and then suddenly the story ends. We read nothing of Paul’s trial before Caesar. We don’t know if he goes free or is condemned to die. Yet from another perspective the story ends exactly where it should. Because Acts was not ultimately about Paul. Acts is about Jesus and his gospel spreading to the ends of the earth.
In this passage of scripture, Paul concludes his letter to the Galatians by exposing the motives of the Judaizers and re-emphasizing that circumcision doesn't count for anything when it comes to salvation but being a new creation in Jesus does.
The gospel will reach Rome! In this passage, Paul boards a ship for Rome, and the journey is filled with obstacles. At many points, it seems hopeless. It seems that God's plan will sink with the ship as it crashes but God's plan is unsinkable. God's promises are unstoppable and we'll see how he carries out his plan even when it seems hopeless.
The Household of God Shares All Good Things
We all want to experience the fruit of the Spirit but what seed do we need to sow in order to bear fruit? We crucify our old selves and become new creations in Christ, but that is only the beginning. We are now part of a new family: the household of God, and as a family member we do our part to share with our family all good things.
Sometimes we look at the world and want to weep. Injustice, racism, oppression, war and slavery seem to reign. God’s people suffer persecution and rejection. Will God’s kingdom ever come? Will’s God’s people ever reign and will evil ever be judged? Take heart! The slain lamb stands.
This Friday we will take a break from Acts in order to mark “Good Friday”. Christians around the world will remember Jesus’ death on the cross on Good Friday, as well as his resurrection from the dead on Easter. But what does Jesus’ crucifixion mean? Why was it so important that Christians would pause to commemorate it year after year? Today we will answer that question from the very first chapter of John’s Gospel. There we see Jesus’ making his first appearance in the story and there John tells us who Jesus is what his crucifixion will mean.
In Galatians 6:1–5, we see that the gospel accomplishes what the Law could not do. The gospel of grace transforms our lives to be truly spiritual so that we fulfill the “law of Christ”—by loving one another and bearing one another’s burdens.
Being wronged and unjustly treated is a painful experience but it’s also a dangerous temptation. When others harm us, we can easily feel justified in doing harm back to them. We can react with harsh words, emotional outbursts or ruthless behavior, and justify it all because we are the victim but as followers of Jesus we are called to obey and honor God even when we are being dishonored and mistreated by others. No matter how others treat us, we must maintain a clear conscience before God.
We are given 2 lists: the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. Are these our laws, our goals, or something more. Find out this week.
Sometimes life seems sunny and bright. We have happy relationships, good health and success but then the storms comes: illnesses, job layoffs, and betrayals from close friends. When the storms of suffering come, we can wonder, “God, what are you doing? Why are you sending these trials into my life?” Yet our God is so great that he can accomplish his purposes even in and through our turmoil and what is God’s great purpose for our lives? It is that we would glorify him by being his witnesses to the world.
Faith or the Law, Pick One
Ministering While Misunderstood
It’s frustrating when we feel misunderstood. When people misinterpret our actions or words, or even spread false reports about our motives, we instinctively want to defend ourselves and justify our position. That’s one reason that speaking the gospel is hard. People often misunderstand the gospel and sometimes speak ill of us but Paul gives us an example of someone who, despite being falsely accused, kept his focus on proclaiming Jesus even in the face of hostility.
In Galatians 4:21-5:1, Paul talks about descendants from two mothers: Hagar and Sarah. By considering their stories from Genesis, he makes some powerful points about freedom in Christ to the Galatians and to us. Are you a spiritually born child of the free woman or only a naturally born child of the bond woman? If your mama is free, then you are also free!
Poured Out for the Gospel
Are you a spiritual consumer or a spiritual provider? Do you treat the church as a place that exists to meet your needs or do you come to church to serve other church members? Are you a receiver or a giver? Throughout Acts we have seen the apostle Paul’s example of radical service for the good of others. He worked, prayed, struggled, taught, and suffered his way all over the Roman Empire so that people could hear the gospel and so that churches could be strengthened. Paul models for a poured-out, other-centered Christianity that points us back to Jesus himself.
As the gospel advances into new frontiers, it challenges and overcomes the powers of darkness. This is what we see in Ephesus, as God powerfully confirms Paul’s apostolic ministry and the Word goes forth to Jews and Greeks despite occultism and opposition.
Sons and Heirs Through Christ
In Galatians 4: 1-7, God reveals to us one of the most glorious doctrines of our redemption in Christ, the fact of our adoption as Sons and heirs of God the Father, through Jesus Christ. Practicing the Mosaic Law was never capable of giving us that privilege. Only by faith in Christ’s righteous work on the cross can we access it.
In Acts 19:1-10, Paul finds some disciples in Ephesus who are confused. They believe, but they have not heard of Jesus' baptism or of the Holy Spirit. Paul takes them beyond belief: to a life filled with the Holy Spirit and marked by baptism in Jesus. Are you a disciple of Jesus? If so, are you living out that belief through the power of the Holy Spirit?
Are you a child of the promise? And why did God make a promise to Abraham for faith, but then a law to Moses? In Galatians 3:15-29, Paul answers these questions to help us understand the big picture story of the Bible. He explains to us the promise of Abraham, the purpose of the Law of Moses, and how both the Law of Moses and the Promise to Abraham point us to faith alone in Christ. Through faith, we become one in Christ Jesus and children of the promise!
God has a plan for the whole world, and for our lives. Unfortunately, God doesn’t usually let us know the details of his plan. However, we do know some things. We know that God is saving a people for himself and we know that he uses Christians as his witnesses and workers to bring the gospel to the people he is saving. This knowledge gives us confidence to keep sharing the gospel because God’s plans will prevail.
The Blessing of Abraham, The Curse of the Law
It is only through faith that we receive the Spirit and become perfected as true offspring of Abraham and offspring of God
The Rhythm of Gospel Work
Paul’s missionary journeys took him across the Roman Empire. He traveled to different cities and encounter all kinds of people, situations, challenges and surprises. It’s fascinating to read the book of Acts simply as a thrilling travelogue, let alone as a religious text and yet amid all of his varied and dramatic adventures, his ministry had a predictable rhythm. In each place, Paul’s work followed a predictable pattern and that pattern remains the same today for everyone who engages in gospel ministry.
In this text, Paul tells us about how he publicly rebuked Peter. Imagine that! Two apostles have a conflict. Why was Paul so upset, to "oppose him to his face"? It's because this disagreement was central to the gospel message itself AND to how we should live. Paul shows us the gospel of justification by faith alone and a beautiful picture of the life we live in light of such truth.
This Friday we have the joy and privilege to commission the new elders and deacons approved at the Annual General Meeting. As we think about setting apart new leaders, we will be meditating on John 21 in which Jesus set apart Peter for the task of overseeing his people. We find in Peter’s experience a story of forgiveness, commissioning and obedience to Jesus that is true for all who would be leaders of the local church.
Is the Gospel Paul Preached God’s Gospel?
Paul taught the gospel that God declares us righteous by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and not by our own works. Was this true? Where did he receive this good news and how do we evaluate truth when we hear it?
God's Sovereignty in the Gospel Mission
What is the basis of the missionary enterprise? And where is our hope in the proclamation of the gospel? In Acts 16, we see that the Sovereign hand of God continues to direct the mission of His church, as He guides the disciples into Macedonia, where He opens hearts and prison doors for the gospel to advance.
Paul wrote to the Galatians because Paul himself, the Gospel he preached, and the Galatians were all under attack by false teachers and false gospels. He rebuked them out of love in hopes that they would turn away from the falsehoods flooding the region, and turn to the one true Gospel. The power of God’s Word in Paul’s letter to the Galatians still resonates today nearly 2,000 years later. Each of us is in danger of falling into the traps of false teachers, false gospels, & false assurance. How can we guard against these dangers? How can we stand firm in the truth of the Gospel that by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone we may be saved?
Jesus Alone, or Jesus And?
The early church not only grew rapidly but also changed dramatically. The church began among the Jews in Jerusalem, but it soon spread to the Gentiles in Antioch and beyond. This rapid demographic shift triggered a profound theological debate in the church: did the Gentiles have to become Jewish in order to be saved? Did the Gentiles have to be circumcised, keep kosher, observe the Sabbath and keep the other laws given by Moses? Or was their faith in Jesus enough? The question was more than just a cultural conflict. It struck to the very heart of the gospel. What must we do to be saved?
Introduction to Galatians
The only true gospel is that God declares us righteous by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and not by our own works, thus empowering us by His Spirit to obey Him today and live with the hope of eternal life.
The Joy and Mess of Missions
The Holy Spirit called Saul and Barnabas to continue the advance of the gospel to the Gentiles. In chapters 13 and 14, they take their first missionary journey. It's messy! There is joyful fruit and joyful suffering. As the gospel continues to move forward today, we see the Holy Spirit calling people to the same messy mission: joyfully fruitful and joyfully difficult. Are you on the mission?
God's Sovereignty in Deliverance and Damnation
In Acts 12, Luke takes us back to Jerusalem to see God's mighty hand with the church in the midst of tribulation. The church faces persecution from Herod, even losing a beloved apostle to death. But God hears the prayers of His people
Living things grow. Trees and fish and people change and mature. This is not only true of physical life. The new spiritual life that Christ has brought grows as well. Individual Christians grow spiritually. Churches grow in Christ-like maturity. Even beyond that, the gospel itself is growing throughout the world.
As we continue to look at the story of Christmas through the Bible, we turn to the book of Hebrews and see the reason why Jesus came, not to be remembered as a baby in a manger, but as a brother, a deliverer and our High Priest.
The gospel is for everyone. Jesus died and rose again to save a people from every tribe, language and nation. The church was born in Jerusalem and the first Christians came from a Jewish background, but God never intended for the church stay that way. God promised Abraham that through his offspring all the peoples of earth would blessed. Today we study the world-changing moment when God brought the good news of Jesus to the Gentiles.
This is the time of year when most people remember the coming of Jesus. But we often overlook why Jesus came. Come and see the purpose of Christmas
No one is beyond the redeeming reach of the cross of Christ. The gospel can save even the most unlikely of people. The risen Jesus can rescue anyone from the blindness of sin. God can even transform a violent persecutor of the church into a great preacher of the gospel and there is perhaps no great example of the gospel’s saving power than in the conversion of Saul.
The king is coming! That's what Zechariah and many of the other prophets often talked about. What will the king be like? What will he do? For us today, we rejoice in the promises fulfilled at the first Christmas. What does God promise us with the return of the king?
The Jerusalem church faced many challenges: deceptive church members, increasingly hostile rulers and organizational strain. Yet God enabled the church to overcome these problems and God continued to grant them numeric growth and powerful signs and wonders. The church was thriving. However, in the midst of its success, the church was failing in a critical way: it wasn’t pressing forward with Jesus’ mission to take the gospel to all nations. The gospel had not gone beyond Jerusalem. So God had to give the church a little push.
Do you know when Christmas was first mentioned in the Bible? It wasn’t when the angels appeared to Mary or Joseph announcing the coming birth of Jesus. The first mention of the birth of the Savior came at the very beginning of human history, in the garden of Eden.
This text looks at the story and speech of Stephen. We'll see how the Risen Jesus empowers Stephen to preach the gospel boldly and we'll see how the dead hearts of the religious leaders lead them to murder Stephen, the first martyr for Jesus. At the end of this story, who is dead, and who is alive? Is your faith dead or alive?
We often think of heroism as involving great power, beauty as external appearance, and wisdom as lofty philosophy. The book of Proverbs, however, ends with a powerful poem that shows us true heroism, true beauty, and true wisdom
Christians sometimes get frustrated with discussions about church organization and structure. We wonder, “Why is are we talking about elders and deacons, committees and processes? Shouldn’t we be focused on reaching people outside the church?” But what if a well-ordered church internally enables an effective gospel witness externally? Have you ever thought that your church’s organization and structure could either help or hinder your church’s mission to proclaim the gospel?
As we recognise the differences between ant and slug, we recognise that God calls us to work, He calls us to recognise our responsibility, not only in our employment but also in our spiritual lives. Consider today your purpose in being in the UAE, consider why you do what you do. Recognise our purpose is to glorify God in all we say and do.
Obedience Despite Opposition
We return to the book of Acts this week and observe the apostles’ resolve to “obey God rather than men.” Despite increasing opposition to the gospel, the apostles stay faithful, counting it an honor to suffer for Jesus’ name. And despite the opponents’ efforts to suppress the truth, God’s unstoppable Word overcomes every obstacle.
Last week asked the question “What are elders?” We saw that elders are the shepherds and overseers of local churches. But who is qualified for this role? What are the requirements for serving in this capacity?
Last week asked the question “What are elders?” We saw that elders are the shepherds and overseers of local churches. But who is qualified for this role? What are the requirements for serving in this capacity?
Does it really matter how a church is organized? As long as we’re focused on Jesus, any leadership model should work, right? And yet as we turn to the New Testament we see that again and again that local churches were led by a group called “elders.” Jesus not only established his church, but also gave us a leadership structure to follow. In this two-part sermon series, we will consider two questions: 1) What are elders? and 2) Who are elders?
Does it really matter how a church is organized? As long as we’re focused on Jesus, any leadership model should work, right? And yet as we turn to the New Testament we see that again and again that local churches were led by a group called “elders.” Jesus not only established his church, but also gave us a leadership structure to follow. In this two-part sermon series, we will consider two questions: 1) What are elders? and 2) Who are elders?
A Matter of Life and Death
The great riddle of humanity is death. In our fast-paced and busy world, the last thing that people want to think or talk about are eternal matters. But the grim reality is that death is the destiny of all human beings. And God's Word speaks frequently and explicitly about death. Come and hear what the book of Proverbs says about death and how to escape it and find true life.
The Loving, Fearful Church
In this passage, we see the amazing love of the early church in their unity and generosity. But then we see the story of Ananias and Sapphira testing the Holy Spirit and dying. The result? Great fear came upon the whole church. Are we a loving church? Should we be a fearful church?
What is true friendship and how do we find it? Is it possible to move away from everyone you know and love and still find friendship?
Not everyone is excited to hear the gospel. In fact sometimes telling people about Jesus can get you into trouble. What should Christians do when they face pushback, rejection or even persecution for talking about the gospel?
Many people are looking for a miracle. People long for a supernatural breakthrough for their health, finances or family problems, Does God do miracles today? In Acts 3 we read about a wondrous healing performed by Peter: a man lame from birth was given the ability to walk and yet Peter tells us about an even greater miracle available to everyone.
Everyone feels angry sometimes. Some people explode with fiery rage, and others become ice cold. Even Jesus was angry at times, but in his anger, he did not sin. The Proverbs tell us to be slow to anger. This Sunday we'll answer the questions: Why should we be slow to anger? How can we be slow to anger? Is anger a sin? There is hope for us, even when we feel angry!
What does it mean to be a "Spirit-filled church" or to "live in the end times"? In Acts 2:42-47, we see the result of God's Spirit coming down and the "last days" being inaugurated: a community of believers devoted to the teaching of the Scriptures, to prayer, and to loving one another. The Spirit of God forms a local church-a community that displays Christ, and a life together that today's churches should aspire to.
We all have natures and urges that need to be controlled to live righteously. How do we manage that? Is there a way to overcome habits that have become part of us? The Bible gives very clear direction on how we can be self-controlled.
Pentecost was one of three pilgrimage festivals God commanded Israel to observe. But for Christians it has become something more. Pentecost is the day when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the church. Acts 2 records this miraculous event, and also includes a speech by the apostle Peter explaining the significance of Pentecost. What does the outpouring of the Holy Spirit mean? It signals that the end of the world has begun.
We live in a world that often seems like it's spinning out of control and our lives can sometimes feel chaotic as well. Yet the Word of God in Proverbs reminds us that our God Almighty sees all things, knows all things, and controls all things. He is sovereign over human decisions, over the course of human history, over big things, and over seemingly insignificant things. This Sunday prepare to revel in the glory and majesty of our Almighty God in His Son Jesus Christ.
A common full name for the book of Acts is "The Acts of the Apostles." In Acts 1:12-26, Luke introduces us to the apostles, the eyewitnesses of all that Jesus did. Who are they? What makes them special? Luke also tells us what the disciples did while waiting for the Holy Spirit to come, which will help us to trust God in our seasons of waiting as well. Come learn from "The Waiting Witnesses."
Wisdom for Tough Decisions
We all face tough decisions. Should I sign this contract? Who should I marry? How should I educate my kids? Where should I live? Which mall should I eat lunch at? God's wisdom in Proverbs will give us discernment to help us answer these and even bigger questions: What is God's will for my life?
What is the mission of the church? We gather in church on Fridays and Sunday evenings to sing to God, hear Biblical teaching, and fellowship with other Christians. But is that all we do as a church? Isn’t there some larger purpose or task that we should pursue? This morning we begin a new Friday sermon series in the New Testament book of Acts and in Acts we find the church on its mission: to bear witness about Jesus and the gospel to all nations.
Parenting is one of life’s greatest joys. It also one of life’s most daunting tasks. What new parent feels equipped and ready to raise another human being? As a result moms and dads often feel a mixture of confusion, frustration, and guilt when they think about their own parenting. Parents need help! Thankfully the book of Proverbs provides vital principles for raising children.
Pride and humility are among the biggest themes in the whole Bible. In fact, humility is probably the most important trait for a Christian. Jesus led the way by humbling himself, even to death on a cross! So it's no surprise that in the Proverbs, God hates our pride, and it leads to our destruction. On the other hand, God delights in humility, especially when we come to him as children seeking his wisdom.
All of us talk everyday. We speak in person and on phones. We send texts and emails and post words on social media. And our speech matters. All those words have a profound power to harm or help, to break down or build up. What we say affects others and is heard by God. Do we speak like wise people or like fools? We need God’s wisdom in Proverbs to know how to glorify God and edify others with our words.
We live in a sex-crazed world. God created our sexuality for our blessing and his glory but our sinful hearts have turned sex into an end in itself, an enslaving obsession, a false god. How can we recover God’s plans for our sexuality? How can sex be truly “good”?
We live in a world that is obsessed with money. Indeed, money is an important part of our everyday lives. We can often fall into the trap of thinking about money in unhelpful ways but God cares about money and about how we use it. This week, we look at what the Book of Proverbs says about money, seeking God’s wisdom that transforms our lives and enables us to live with practical godliness and think rightly about money.
Humanity's search for wisdom and knowledge is never-ending. True wisdom is found only in Christ, who transforms our lives so that we live a wise life of practical godliness with the hope of eternal reward. Therefore, we must turn away from our foolishness and pursue true wisdom in Christ who speaks to us through his Word and guides us to eternal life.
In light of the persecution the Thessalonians are experiencing and the truth of the Gospel they have heard, Paul gives a strong challenge to walk daily in obedience.
The believers in Thessalonica are confused about the return of the Lord Jesus. Paul outlines God's future plan showing that the man of lawlessness must come first. He will be the emissary of Satan. The Thessalonians are encouraged to stand firm in the gospel.
God has created us and designed us to live forever. Life does not end with death. Our God is a just God. He will reward each person for his or her actions. For those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is relief. For those who do not know God and who do not obey the Gospel of the Lord Jesus, there is punishment.
As we begin our study of 2 Thessalonians, we take a look at the birth of the church in Europe! We will see how God directed Paul and his team to Europe and the incredible spiritual adventures they encountered as the gospel bore fruit.
God has a plan for our lives and our church but we usually can't see it until after the fact. When we look ahead, our path seems confusing and uncertain but when we look back we can sometimes see the mysterious wisdom and purpose of God at work in our life's journey. Joseph suffered hardship for many years: hated by his brothers, sold as a slave to Egypt, framed by his slave master's wife, and left to rot in prison. Yet eventually Joseph came to see God's design in his trials. Here in the final chapters of his story, Joseph has come to the realization that God meant it all for good.
Repentance and Reconciliation
God has brought Joseph from misery to blessing, from the pit of prison to the throne of Egypt, from the depths of humiliation to the heights of glory. And yet Joseph's family history remains unresolved. He is still estranged from his brothers who sinned against him. So God sovereignly guides events to bring the brothers before Joseph in fulfillment of Joseph's dreams. And rather than the story ending in revenge and justice, it ends in a surprising twist of repentance, grace and reconciliation.
The Suffering Servant Reigns and Rescues
God has a plan. We don't always see it right away. Often his plan involves painful twists and turns that don't make sense to us. Sometimes God's purposes take much longer to unfold that we think they should. We wonder, "God, what are you doing? Why won't you answer my prayers?" And yet the truth remains: God has a plan and nothing can stop him. Here in Genesis 41, we see God's plan finally unfold to save and exalt Joseph after years of suffering and humiliation. But God's plan isn't merely for Joseph. It's a plan to save the world.
Most of us hate waiting. In this modern age we have grown accustomed to fast food, 24/7 customer support, high speed internet connections, and front door delivery (especially here in the UAE!). Our world doesn't train us to be patient. And yet in the Christian life, we must often wait on the Lord. Believers frequently find themselves waiting patiently on God in the midst of difficult situations. How do we persevere when we cry out to God for deliverance day after day, month after month, and yet nothing changes? How do we learn to keep trusting in God's purposes and promises when it seems things are going from bad to worse?
Foundations for Gospel-Shaped Ministry
Everyone aspires for unity in diversity
God's Blessing in Our Trials
God has never promised that Christians would experience a trouble-free life. Christians suffer and struggle in this broken world. We experience illness, injustice, unemployment, betrayal, mental illness, and failure. And yet God has promised never to leave us nor forsake us. He doesn't always save us from our trials, but he always walks with us in our trials.
Joseph's brothers hated and envied Joseph. When their hatred boiled over, they stripped Joseph of his robe, put him in a pit, and then sold him into slavery. And in order to cover their crime, his brother's deceived their father Jacob into thinking that Joseph was killed by a wild animal. Hatred, violence, betrayal, and deceit. Will God bring justice to Joseph's brothers? Is God in control? Or does God just stand by and watch as evil people get away with sin?
God Will Work Even in This
As we continue with the story of Joseph, we recognize that God does have a plan and his plan is more sure than ours. We will see how his brothers move with their hatred of him to further sin, but in all this God is sovereign and his ways are not our ways, his plans always come to pass.We need to remain obedient and trust in the hope we have to see the end. Although Job uncertainties, financial pressures, family problems, and health issues may come, God is still on the throne.
Romans 5 shows the believer many reasons to rejoice in God. In chapters 1-4, Paul explains justification by faith. Now in chapter 5, Paul teaches us the implications of being saved by faith. We have a lot of rejoicing to do, even in our sufferings, because we have hope. This hope is not like any other hope; it is secure, because it is anchored in God’s love shown in Christ’s death.
Does God have a plan? Sometimes we see the chaos and upheaval in the world and we wonder how God could be at work in such a mess. At other times our own lives seem out of control. Job uncertainties, financial pressures, families problems, and health issues make us question what God is doing, or if he's there at all. This week we begin a study through the life of Joseph in the Old Testament. Joseph experienced a series of devastating hardships: betrayals, slavery, false accusations, prison, and abandonment. And yet the Lord had a plan for Joseph's good, for the saving of thousands of lives, and for the ultimate redemption of the world.
Betrayal, abandonment, arrest, torture, false testimony, mob action, injustice. Jesus endured it all in his final hours. And yet all these torments and trials were only the steep steps leading to his final destination: the cross. Jesus' whole life and ministry had been leading to his crucifixion. And yet, at the very moment of his greatest agony and shame, his glory was revealed.
People hate unjust authority figures. We are disgusted by corrupt politicians, biased judges, and cowardly rulers. The greatest, most disturbing miscarriage of justice ever was the legal proceedings against Jesus. After his arrest, Jesus stood trial before two courts: 1) the Sanhedrin, which was the supreme ruling council of the Jews, and then 2) Pilate, the Gentile ruler in charge of Jerusalem. Both trials were the height of irony. The true and righteous king was condemned to death by corrupt and cowardly leaders. And yet it was in this most profound miscarriage of justice that Jesus was securing our ultimate acquittal.
After the Last Supper, Jesus heads off to the garden of Gethsemane, feeling the cross looming, spending time in prayer, while asking His disciples to be prayerful. When they are not, he is betrayed and the disciples fail at their promise to be around. We all fail at times, but there is a way to overcome temptation and be strengthened, Jesus is our example.
As Easter approaches, we pause to remember the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus for our salvation. Over the next few weeks, we will be revisiting the passion of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of Mark. Jesus' "passion" refers to his final suffering: his betrayals, arrest, trial, torture, crucifixion and death. All four Gospels given extended attention to Jesus' last hours, because his death and resurrection was the central reason he came. Let us walk again with Jesus down the dark and lonely road that leads to the cross.
The Corinthians had lost sight of what it means to be a loving, gospel-shaped community. And so Paul has spent 15 chapters dealing problem after problem in the Corinthian church: lawsuits, sexual immorality, divisions, arrogance, neglect, spiritual competition, and even doubts about the resurrection. But in this final chapter, Paul shifts the focus from the dysfunctions in Corinth to the broader work of God beyond Corinth. The Corinthians not only need to be reminded of how to love one another in the gospel. They also need to be reminded that they are connected to a gospel network and gospel mission that extends far beyond their own congregation.
The ancient Greeks believed that when people died, their bodies rotted away while their souls went to the shadowy realm of the dead. So imagine how strange it would be for them to hear of Jesus, the savior risen from the dead. Or even more strange: those who trust in Christ will rise from the dead as well! That's why Paul answers philosophical objections to the doctrine of the resurrection in our passage. Paul's answers not only help us understand the resurrection better, but they spur us on in the Christian life by giving us a glimpse of the glory that awaits us.
Some of those in the Corinthian Church believed there was no resurrection of the dead. Paul looks at the ramifications of such an idea. He openly states we are all waisting our time in going to church if there is no resurrection. But in Fact Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the firstfruits and we will follow. His victory over death leads to the conclusion of history where he presents the Kingdom to the Father. The fact of the resurrection gives meaning and purpose to our lives of service.
Gospel. It's a word that Christians use a lot. Gospel choirs sing gospel music, pastors preach gospel messages, missionaries take the gospel cross-culturally and home Bible study groups try to practice gospel community. At ECC, our children and youth are using a curriculum called "The Gospel Project." Pastors often encourage their congregations to share the gospel with people who aren't Christians. But all of this gospel talk begs a critical question: What is the gospel?
Do you want to get into debate with other Christians? Just ask them what they think about speaking in tongues. Some would say speaking in tongues is evidence of a higher Christian experience, while others believe that tongue-speaking is demonic! Some say speaking in tongues is a private
If you could walk in to a church gathering in ancient Corinth, it would probably seem like a very dynamic congregation. You might even call it
God in his wisdom has distributed spiritual gifts to every member of his family. He calls us the Body of Christ. He designed the individual parts of the body to be unique and yet in need of the other parts. Jesus alone is the head. He designed our diversity and he is our unity.
Rituals are easy. Relationships are hard. It's relatively easy to sing in church, recite a prayer, read a liturgy, or give an offering in church. But it's much more challenging to love, serve and care for the actual people in the church. We sometimes gravitate toward rituals, ceremonies and traditions. But God is far more concerned with how his children treat one another. And this is especially true when it comes to our celebration of the Lord's Supper.
Christians often appreciate 1 Corinthians because it's such a practical book. It gives gospel-centered teaching on everyday issues we face in the church and in life like lawsuits and conflicts between Christians, sexual temptation, marriage, divorce, singleness, debatable moral issues, and church power struggles, to name a few. But in 1 Cor 11:2-16, we come to a practical teaching that many Christians and churches seem to ignore altogether: the need for women to cover their heads in worship. Some churches practice head covering for women, but many don't (including ECC). Are we ignoring and disobeying God's Word? Are women still required to cover their heads during a church service?
The Corinthians wanted an answer to their question:
As we enter into a new year we will face many challenges. Battles in our personal lives surrounding the future and spiritual battles as we partner with God to fulfill his kingdom purposes. Our part is to be courageous and stand on his Holy Word. God's promise is to lead us, be with us, and make us fruitful.
God is love! That's a very revealing statement that will take us a lifetime time to digest. As the people of God we are to be love as well. John challenges us to examine ourselves in light of the great love of God demonstrated through the sending of his only Son Jesus Christ.
"Peace on earth, good will toward men!" So said the angels when they announced Jesus' birth to the shepherds. At Christmas we celebrate this merry news. We gather for parties and sing carols about peace, joy and happiness. And yet, beyond the parties and carols there is other news. The earth is filled with war and hatred, not peace and good will. The kingdoms of this world continue to rage, and the kingdom of God seems absent. Is Christmas really good news for the world, or is it just wishful thinking?
To eat, or not to eat. That was the question facing the Corinthians. Was it ok to eat meat that had been offered to idols? Some in Corinth answered the question with a hearty
The Christians in Corinth seemed determined to assert their rights, even if it hurt others in the church. They took one another to court to sue for their rights (chapter 6). They argued for their right to eat food offered to idols (chapters 8 and 10), even though it caused weaker Christians to stumble. They made sure to exercise their spiritual gifts in church (chapters 12-14), even if it threw worship services into chaos. And yet in using their rights, they were undercutting the gospel itself.
Some things are clearly sinful. For example, it is sinful to murder, to steal, and to engage in sex outside of marriage. The Bible explicitly forbids these actions. These are matters of right and wrong, black and white. But other matters are more grey. Yes, the Bible clearly condemns drunkenness. But does it condemn all alcohol consumption? Christians disagree about the answer to that question. One Christian abstains from all alcoholic drinks, while another has a glass of wine at a meal. How then do Christians who disagree about such disputed matters live together in the community of the local church? The Christians in Corinth faced a similar grey area that was threatening their own church unity. For them the question was,
The Superiority of Singleness
It's not always easy being a single adult in a local church. Couples' Bible studies and family events can feel exclusionary. Married couples with families are often too busy and distracted to make time for relationships with singles. Pastors regularly make sermon applications to marriage but often neglect applications to singleness. Church members try to set up singles for dates and relationships making singles feel like they are problem that needs to be fixed. Churches create singles' ministries that, while well intentioned, can send a subtle message that singles aren't part of the regular church until they can find a spouse. It's not surprising that Christian singles sometimes feel like second-class citizens in a local church. But what if single adults are in fact a great gift and blessing to the church? What if in many ways singleness is even superior to marriage?
What does biblical ministry look like and how can God use us to build His church?
The gospel changes everything. When we repent of our sin and trust in Jesus' death and resurrection for our salvation, we enter a whole new world. God changes our desires, our behavior and our thinking. But what does this inner change mean for our external circumstances and our relationships with friends, family and coworkers? And in particular, what does it mean for marriage? Does our new relationship with Jesus invalidate marriage? What if you're married to someone who rejects the gospel? Should you stay bound to a non-Christian?
Sexual immorality was rampant in ancient Greek culture, and especially in the ancient city of Corinth. No wonder Paul command the Corinthians:
God prepared and then called Moses to bring His people out of slavery from Egypt into freedom and the land of promise. Moses said NO and gave his reasons. He felt he was not able, he did not know if he really knew God for who He was, and was confident that the Israelite people were trouble. Could Aaron my brother take my place? God said
The Gospel and Sexual Sin
The ancient city of Corinth was sexually out-of-control. As a port city, it boasted many brothels. In fact, the ancient Greeks coined the verb
The Gospel and Church Fights
Sadly, Christians sometimes fight. Even mature believers can have strong differences of opinion with one another and struggle to work together. Church members may come from different cultures with different personalities and different life-experiences, all of which can create tensions. On top of that, we often make matters worse by responding to conflict in sinful ways: gossip, slander, angry outbursts, lies and unforgiveness. In Corinth, the situation was so bad that church members were taking one another to court! What should a church do when members are stuck in a seemingly irreconcilable conflict?
It has been said that the church should be a hospital for recovering sinners. The church proclaims the gospel message of forgiveness and redemption through Jesus' death and resurrection. So is it ever appropriate for a church to judge and exclude someone from the church (a practice often called
Don’t be puffed up! Its quite a statement by Paul. We will be looking at Paul's example of how to view oneself and others.
How should we view pastors, elders and other leaders in the church? Are they celebrities to be elevated and watched? Power-brokers to be courted? Dictators to be feared? Paul gives the church in Corinth another way of viewing himself and church leaders. They are to be mere servants of God.
The Gospel message is foolishness to the world but in reality, the Gospel is the wisdom of God which has been hidden from the world. God's Holy Spirit has revealed this secret wisdom and enables us to receive it with faith.
The world is filled with many cultures, representing a host of different languages, customs and values and yet there is at least one thing all human cultures have in common: they all stumble over the Gospel message. The message of salvation through the cross of Christ conflicts in some way with all philosophies, religions and worldviews. And yet God has been pleased to show his wisdom, power and salvation through the cross.
Introduction to 1 Corinthians
In the early 50's AD, the apostle Paul arrived in Corinth and began to preach the Gospel. By God's grace, people believed and a church was planted. A few years later Paul left Corinth and wrote a letter to this fledgling church. We call this letter
We all have a refuge, a safe place that we go to in times of trouble. That refuge might be money, relationship, food and drink, entertainment, or any number of things. But all of these sources of security can be shaken. There is only one refuge that stands firm when our world falls apart.
If It Had Not Been The LORD Who Was On Our Side
Remembering what God has done for us in the past allows us to be hopeful in the present difficulties, even expectant of God’s timing and care. Here David's looks back while reminding us that the reason we are who we are is because the LORD is on our side
People thrive when they are led well. And yet all leaders, even the best ones, disappoint us, and often in devastating ways. And so our hearts yearn for a truly great leader, one who can address our deepest needs. Does such a ruler exist?
We face many challenges and problems in life. But perhaps the most difficult and humiliating are the problems that we create by our own sin. In moments of spiritual clarity, see the ugliness of our disobedience to God and the devastating impact it has had on ourselves and others. What do we do when we find ourselves face to face with our own depravity? There is only hope: repent and wait on God's grace.
Prolonged suffering can shake the strongest person. We can endure a temporary setback. But when misery stretches on day after day and month after month, we begin to wonder if God is still in control and if he still cares for us. Psalm 13 gives us words to worship God in those dark times of life. It deals honestly with our doubts and pain, and points us to the only source of hope.
The Secret to a Blessed Life
Is it possible to find true, enduring happiness? What does it take to achieve a truly blessed life? Is the good life about money and fame, or family and friends? Psalm 1 is a Wisdom Psalm. Biblical wisdom is about navigating life in order to experience blessing. Psalm 1 tells us the truly blessed life can only be found in God and his Word.
The God of the Bible is the living God who speaks. He is the God who can be known. God has revealed his glory in creation. He has spoken about his character and his person in the words of Scripture. And he gave his ultimate self-revelation in the living Word, Jesus Christ. God is speaking! Are we listening?
Shout for Joy to the Lord
Psalm 33 calls us to praise God and rejoice in him. The Psalm also gives us powerful reasons to praise God. He is the all-powerful creator, the absolute ruler and the great savior. God's salvation is available to all who will humbly trust in Him.
Each of us has a special race of faith to run and to be able to do it we need to rid ourselves of anything that holds us back and focus our eyes directly on Jesus.
The Apostle Paul gives some foundational truths on how to be able to stand in a rough world. Central is having right attitudes about the past the present and the future. He gives some clear action points on how to stay on track with Jesus.
Jesus gives instruction on heart felt prayer. He highlights the hypocrisy in some in how they pray and then directs the disciples to some essential requests when coming before the Father in prayer.
The Lords supper is time for thanksgiving, remembering, celebrating, proclaiming and expecting. Especially we remember his sacrifice for us on the cross and we proclaim this good news until he comes again.
God has done everything for us through his son Jesus Christ therefore who or what can come against us? We are more than conquerors through Jesus.
True joy from God comes from abiding in Him and producing His kind of fruit.
Often the events around us lead us to ask the question God why? Habakkuk does this in his inspired book. He has a dialogue with God and we see God’s willingness to engage with us, his creation, in these questions. Habakkuk gives us perspective and comfort.
Back to Colossae: Philemon
Paul challenges his fellow worker in the gospel Philemon to accept back his runaway slave Onesimus. He asks him to receive Onesimus as he would receive himself. Bold words! God gives us in this short little letter a beautiful picture of the Gospel story: repentance, salvation, transformation, reconciliation.
Psalm 95 is a spiritual audit. It begins by focusing on worship and ends with a challenge from God himself that we be real in our faith believing and trusting in him not being like the former generations that went astray in their hearts not knowing his ways.
Pauls final exhortation to the Colossians focuses on prayer and walking in wisdom making the most of the time.He specifically challenges them to be gracious in their words
Paul gives crisp and insightful applications of living out the truths of Christ as it relates to families. He also gives instruction to slaves and masters which gives us insights today on how we should approach our daily jobs.
Since we have been transferred from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of light we need to continue in our spiritual growth by making every effort to put on Christ, to put on his characteristics as we live together in his community, forgiving one another, and seeking to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.
The Lord Jesus faced a daunting future filled with mocking, beating, scourging, and eventually the cross. He sought his Father asking if this could be bypassed. His prayer, in the face of all this suffering though was
The Three Evenings of the Passion Week
We see different characters responding to circumstances in their own ways. Let's look at some of these and see if we can see ourselves in their responses.
Life is full of choices. The Apostle Paul encourages the small church in Colossae to seek the things which are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father and to put to death the earthly things in their lives in which they used to walk.
Let No One Disqualify You!
False teachers were influencing the small growing fellowship in Colossae. Paul commands them to not let these false brothers pass judgement or disqualify them because of their own man made requirements. Instead he tells them to hold fast to Jesus Christ who is the head of the church.
Because of who Christ is and what He has done for us, as explained in Col 1, we are commanded to walk in Him and to live our lives being built up and established in Him. Paul warns against false teachers who would take believers captive by philosophies and human traditions and not according to Christ.
Last Words, Part 3: Choose You This Day
Pastor Cam's final final sermon
The Apostle Paul & The Gospel
The Apostle Paul explains his relationship to the church in Colossae and his ministry from God for the Gentiles.
Jesus is God the Son the second person of the Trinity and through his work on the cross he has reconciled mankind to God. He is the creator of all things, the Head of the church and God incarnate on earth.
Paul gives thanks for the Collisions as he testifies of their faith, hope, and love. This is the result of the word of truth, the Gospel, which they received from their own countryman Epaphras. Paul prays that they may be filled with the knowledge of His will so that they may walk in a manner pleasing to God. He declares that they have been delivered from darkness and transferred to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus in whom they have redemption and forgiveness of sins.
How to Become a Grasshopper?
What's Your Dream for 2016?
Often we are faced with impossible situations. Jonathan, King Saul’s son faced incredible odds but with faith, vision, and courage he jumped into the impossible and saw God’s power released in such a way that God’s name was glorified and a great victory won.
Angels Proclaim Salvation
The angel announced to the shepherds the birth of a saviour: a new born baby in Bethlehem. Who is this child? Who is he saving? Saving them from what? How does he do it? As God opened heaven and gave a glimpse of his glory to the shepherds, he does so again through his apostle John giving answers to the true nature of this little baby and his work of salvation.
The wise men had a profound experience with God. He revealed truth to them and led them by a celestial object so that they as gentiles could be present to worship the new born king of the Jews. They left family, friends and country to find the Lord Jesus.
The Last Supper: What a Night
Last Words: Only God Makes it Grow
It's Not Supposed to be This Way
Last Words: It is God Who Works in You
Pastor Cam finds that his “final sermon” will actually take 3 weeks to preach. So this is the first of three in a series called “Last Words”. These final words are found in Philippians 2:12-16: “It Is God Who Works in You.” Why are these words important? How do they relate to Pastor Cam’s retirement and the future? And what does it mean to “work out your own salvation?”
Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart
In this message, Pastor Cam announces and then describes his faith journey in facing a recent diagnosis of cancer. He shares how God used the Scripture (Philippians 1:21) to remind him that in spite of life’s complications it is still fundamentally simple. The answer to two basic questions (both found in this verse) help keep the big picture in focus.
Encouraging Families, Encouraging People
At the conclusion of this service, 15 couples dedicated their children to the Lord and themselves to the task of Christian parenting. In keeping with this family theme, Pastor Cam preached this message entitled Encouraging Families, Encouraging People. What makes families and people encouraging? And how does Biblical encouragement differ from what the world has to offer?
In preparing for a baptism service in two weeks, Pastor Cam preached this message to challenge people who have not been baptized to take this important step, as well as to challenge all who have been baptized to assess their lives. After we believe in Jesus for our salvation, what then? In Jesus’ words to Peter in John 21 comes the answer: Follow Me!
In ECC’s service today, we commissioned Jess Martin as the Interim Coordinator for Children’s Ministry and also prayed for all the volunteers who will be serving in Children’s Ministry and Youth Ministry in the coming ministry year. In the message, Pastor Cam then challenged the congregation on how to make sure that all the work and service should be fruitful and NOT IN VAIN. In 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12, Paul looks back on his visit and ministry in the Thessalonica and declares that it was “not in vain.” The message lays out 6 reasons, plus one on why Paul was able to say that.
Exhort One Another Every Day
In Hebrews 3:12-14 the author warns us about two dangers our brothers and sisters face, and tells us what we can do to protect them from those dangers.
The title to this message from 2 Corinthians 5:14-6:2 is What Compels You? What are the driving forces in your life? And how do they compare or contrast with that of the Apostle Paul? The message includes an interview with ECC missionary Pastor Moses Undru.
In 1 Corinthians 5:7, the Apostle Paul makes this statement: “Our Passover lamb has been sacrificed; Christ.” In this sermon (The Passover Lamb) we explore the significance of Paul’s words. How did Jesus fulfill the symbolism of the first Passover? What does it mean to “apply the blood”? What part did faith play in the first Passover and what part does it play for us? And how does all of this prepare us to eat the Lord’s Supper together?
This is the final message in our series “Teach Us to Pray”. In the message, Pastor Cam turns to the subject of Dry Season. What does prayer look like in the “dry seasons” of our spiritual life when God seems absent and our prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling? Psalm 13 is our text, as King David asks the Lord, “Will you forget me forever?”
God always answer our prayers. But he doesn’t always say, “Yes” to our petitions. In this message, entitled “When God Says No” we look at the experience of the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 along with other Scriptures. What are the lessons we can learn when God says “No” to our requests?
What is on your prayer list? When you pray for others, what do you ask God for? When you pray for yourself or ask others to pray for you, what are your requests? How does your prayer list compare to that of the Apostle Paul? In this message (Praying for One Another) we explore the prayer life of Paul and compare it to our own.
This message is entitled “Hindrances to Prayer”. Pastor Cam once again compares the believer’s prayer life to a garden, but this time we explore the hindrances to an effective prayer life, using a selection of different Scriptures.
It is commonly referred to as the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:5-15). But it would be more accurate to call it the Disciples’ Prayer as Jesus taught his disciples the key elements of prayer with the words Pray Like This. What is the purpose of this prayer and how should we make use of it? In this message, Pastor Cam suggests using it as a recipe for prayer.
In this message on prayer (entitled In Jesus’ Name) we move to the New Testament and consider four conditions we must fulfill if we want to have a fruitful prayer life.
Problem + Response = Result. That is the formula we looked at last week. And when our response to a problem includes prayer, God acts. In this message (Lord, I Have a Problem), we look at another one of God’s servants who had a big problem. His name is Hezekiah and his story is told in 2 Kings 18-19. How did he respond? What was the result? And what lessons can we learn from him?
Then I Prayed to the God of Heaven
How do you respond to problems? Is prayer your first response? Second response? Or? In this message, we continue to explore the subject of prayer. In this message (“Then I Prayed to the God of Heaven”) taken from Nehemiah 1, we explore a great model for prayer and a simple four point outline as we pray, both for personal needs and for kingdom challenges.
Jesus often used stories to teach us important lessons. In this message, Pastor Cam looks at three stories Jesus used to teach his disciples to pray (Luke 11:5-13, 18:1-8). They are somewhat strange stories with odd characters: a reluctant friend, a sinful father and an unjust judge. Find out what these odd characters have to teach us about God and about prayer.
The Only Jesus People May See... Is the Jesus In You
To encourage believers to live in a way that glorifies God in all we do and say, and which allows the light of Jesus to shine in a dark world. To remind everyone that Jesus is the Word of God, and the Word of God is what should saturate the life of a believer. We should continuously grow in our maturity of living according to the Word of God, we should bear good fruit by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word in us, and we should provide the opportunity for people to have an encounter with Jesus when they are in our presence.
How God Can Be Good When He Allows Trials
Why Was Jesus Transfigured?
In this message we look at why Jesus was transformed, how it would have impacted Peter, James, and John, and what it means for us today.
Put on the Whole Armor of God!
Put on the Whole Armor of God! That is Paul’s command to us in Ephesians 6:11. This is the second message on Ephesians 6:10-24 and the believer’s spiritual battle. It is also the final message in our sermon series on the Book of Ephesians. The message examines each piece of equipment as the Christian soldier puts it on and prepares for battle.
We Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood
In the second half of Ephesians, Paul has been exhorting us as followers of Christ to “walk in a manner worthy of our calling.” But why is that so difficult? In Ephesians 6:10-20, we discover at least one reason. We are at war and we face a fierce enemy. This message (We Wrestle Not Against Flesh and Blood) is the first of two messages on the topic of spiritual warfare and the armor of God.
In Ephesians 6:1-9, Paul urges us not to leave our faith at church, but to take it home with us and to take it to work. What does being filled with the Spirit and “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” mean to children at home? To parents? And what does it mean to us at work. In this message (At Home and at Work) we find out that the truth that Christ is Lord has implications in every arena of life.
The marriage relationship; for many, the source of life’s greatest joys, but sometimes (too often) the source of life’s most painful moments. As divorce rates soar (even among followers of Jesus) we look to the Scripture for help and wisdom. In Ephesians 5:22-33, we find that the path to a healthy marriage lies in submission. But who is to submit to whom? In this message (entitled Husbands and Wives), as we examine this passage together, the answer may surprise you.
Jesus: Crucified and Exalted
At the end of history God the Father will display Jesus the Son as the one deserving all praise and glory and honor. Here is why that is so right, and what difference it makes for our lives today.
What Did It Mean for Jesus to Become a Man?
In the second half of Ephesians, Paul is setting a high standard of conduct and behavior for the followers of Christ. But how do we do that? In this message, taken from Ephesians 5:15-21, we find out that we cannot do it in our own strength or wisdom
Walk as Children of Light
In Ephesians 5:3-14, Paul continues his description of what it means to “walk in a manner worthy of our calling” with a call to Walk as Children of Light. It is a call to a life of moral purity as is fitting to those who are called “saints” and who represent the kingdom of light.
In this sermon, preached at the Easter Sunrise Service on April 5, Pastor Cam reflects on the recent death of a good friend, and declares “Thank God for Easter!” Using a variety of Scriptures, this message explores how Jesus’ resurrection affects the way we view death as well as how we ought to live our lives.
According to the Scriptures
Pastor Cam begins this message by confessing that for many years he misunderstood one of the key phrases in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5. It is the phrase “According to the Scriptures.” What Scriptures was Paul referring to? And why does it matter? The answer to that question takes us back to the primary text for this sermon: Isaiah 53 and the many Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled in the events of Good Friday and Easter.
In Ephesians 4:17-5:2, Paul continues his description of what it means to “walk worthy of our calling” as followers of Christ. Using the analogy of a change of wardrobe, he lists five things we are to Take Off and Put On as we seek to glorify Christ.
Ephesians 4:1 represents the key “hinge” to the Book of Ephesians as Paul turns from his consideration of the believer’s “wealth” (“every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms”) to the believer’s “walk.” The one should match the other. In this message (from Ephesians 4:1-16) we consider the first two characteristics of A Worthy Walk. And we find out why the typical church often differs radically from what God has in mind!
Shared Testimonies from the ECC Team to India
Rooted and Grounded in Love
What is the state of your “inner being” this morning? That is the opening sentence in this sermon. And where do you turn when your inner being feels empty? In exploring these questions, this message explores Ephesians 3:14-21 as Paul once again prays for “all the saints”. Find out what Paul prays for us, and how the answer to that prayer ultimately results in our being “filled with all the fullness of God” in this sermon entitled Rooted and Grounded in Love.
Meaningless or Meaningful
Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 is an intro to set us out on the journey along with the teacher to see what is meaningless and meaningful. Will trace in ch 2 the various experiments with wine, wealth, good projects to see what the teacher says about them basically all meaningless. What is meaningful is being content with God enjoying his Gifts ie: food, fellowship, joy, work. it’s the journey along the way that matters to God even in the midst of a wicked and unjust world. The conclusion of 12:13-14 fear God and obey him. Remember there is a judgement coming”.
What God Has Joined Together
In Ephesians 2:11-22, Paul makes some astounding statements about Christian unity; its foundation and its importance in God’s grand design. In this message, entitled “What God Has Joined Together” we explore God’s grand design and why Christian unity matters to God. Paul’s basic premise is so radical that he goes on in 3:1-13 to claim divine authority for his statements. As God reconciles us to himself, barriers between Christ’s followers also tumble
Healthy Relationships - A Display of God’s Glory
As the people of God, we are called to reflect His unity.
The Father, the Son and the Grandfather
This message is a story without a happy ending. A father: King David, and his sons Amnon and Absolom, have unforgiveness and bitterness in their hearts, along with a grandfather, Ahithophel. Don’t allow their ending to become your ending too. Trust that God is able to carry you through those time of pain to a place of grace.
The Parable of the Diamond Willow
In his introduction, Pastor Cam describes a wood-working project he made from a piece of diamond willow. In Ephesians 2:10, we find the words: “We are his (God’s) workmanship.” In this message entitled “The Parable of the Diamond Willow” taken from Ephesians 2:1-10, we trace God’s craftsmanship from raw material through to finished product. We also gain some valuable clues about why he is building the Church and how he feels about it.
In Ephesians 1:15-23, Paul describes how he prays for the believers (saints) in Ephesus. What does he ask for? Knowledge. That they may know! What exactly does Paul want them to know? That is the question that we explore in this message (Open Our Eyes, Lord). And what impact does this knowledge have on our everyday lives
To the Praise of His Glory
The opening paragraph in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Ephesians 1:3-14) is one long sentence; the longest sentence in the Bible. In it we discover the incredible riches that are to be found in Christ (“every spiritual blessing”) and the salvation that God has provided. We also discover the reason behind it all: God is revealing his character and his attributes to the watching universe and working out a grand, master plan To the Praise of His Glory.
When No One Else Is Looking!
To encourage everyone to live a life with Godly character and integrity, in a manner which reflects Christ, and for God’s glory.
Go Tell It On the Mountain!
Christmas is over. The presents have been opened and it is time to put away the decorations for another year. But what shall we do with the message of Christmas? Using the example of the shepherds on the first Christmas and the writing of the Apostle Paul, we find that the message of Christmas deserves telling all year long. Let’s Go Tell It on the Mountain! A Savior has been born. He is Christ the Lord.
What Really Happened in Bethlehem?
This is Pastor Cam’s “alpha and omega” Christmas sermon, as he preaches his final Christmas sermon as pastor of ECC by repeating the very first Christmas sermon he preached at ECC in December, 1990. It is a repeat for many (a favorite ECC tradition), but if you are new to the church in the last 3 years, this sermon may surprise you as we look at Luke 2:1-7 and ask the question: What Really Happened in Bethlehem?
God Demonstrated His Love
Every year at Christmas time, the world throws a big party ”“ but many forget to invite the Guest of Honor. To counteract that possibility, in this message (God Demonstrated His Love) Pastor Cam leads the congregation in memorizing a single verse of Scripture (1 John 4:9) that beautifully summarizes the message of Christmas.
How Will These Things Be?
This is the first of three Christmas messages as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. In this message, (titled How Will These Things Be?) we explore the events of the first Christmas from the perspective of Mary. When the angel appeared to her (in Luke 1:26-38) and announced that she would be the mother of the Messiah, this was great good news, but it came with a serious down side for Mary personally. In Mary’s response to the angel we find a wonderful model for all servants of the Lord as well as an example of true faith.
November 28 was a baptism Friday at ECC, with 20 people being baptized. In this message, Pastor Cam reminded those who were baptized as well as all who have been baptized before that “baptism is not a graduation ceremony.” Using Colossians 2:6-15, he challenges us all to Keep Walking! Trusting in Christ for salvation is only the beginning. Now we are called to not only be grounded in our faith, but also to live it out.
How to Overcome Temptation
Matthew 17 is an amazing, puzzling, intriguing passage of Scripture. It represented a “mountain top experience” not only for the disciples, but for Jesus himself. It made a lasting impact on the three disciples who were present. “We Beheld His Glory!” the Apostle John wrote many decades later. Listen to this sermon to gaze into the mysteries and to contemplate the eternal truths on display.
Covered or Just Covered Up
For this Communion Service, we look at Psalm 32 and the difference between sin that is Covered or Just Covered Up.
While the apostle Paul often wrote about "inner saving faith", James wrote about "outward serving faith". Pastor Mark helps us to see that in order to live out a true religion (true faith) in Christ, we must do three things: We must be receptive to God's truth, we must be responsive to that truth, and we must be resolved to living a new way!
Heaven is Open - 24 Hours!
We are over half way through the Gospel of Matthew. The book will end with the Great Commission, in which we are challenged to “make disciples of all nations.” So this is a good time to stop and ask the question: what does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus? In this passage (Matthew 16:21-28) and message (To Follow Jesus...) we are confronted with Jesus’ example as well as his teaching and challenge to us as his followers. Both involve a cross and a crown. But we have to get the order right.
The passage we are considering in this sermon (Matthew 16:1-20) contains what is often referred to as “Peter’s Great Confession”. What was Peter confessing and why was it so significant? And how does it relate to Jesus promise: I Will Build My Church.
Reflections on Children, Dogs and Bread
The title for this sermon (taken from Matthew 15:21-39) is Reflections on Children, Dogs and Bread. Strange title? Well, it is a strange passage! What do these three things have to do with each other? What do the three paragraphs in this section have to do with each other? And why does Pastor Cam state that the key to tying it all together is “Location! Location! Location!”
No one likes conflict. But Jesus (the Prince of Peace) was often surrounded by it. In this passage (Matthew 15:1-20) the religious leaders send a delegation from Jerusalem to challenge Jesus. “Why don’t your disciples wash their hands before they eat?” Does that sound like a silly thing to be discussing? As we did deeper, however, we find that some profound spiritual principles are at stake regarding our basis of authority in life and also the fundamental question: WHAT DEFILES A MAN?
In this message, we resume our journey through the Gospel of Matthew. In the context of growing rejection and opposition to his ministry, Jesus begins to focus his ministry on his disciples. Matthew 14 describes two powerful miracles of Jesus; one public, the other private. But both are intended to teach Lessons of Faith to his followers. What can we learn from this chapter for times in life when the demands of life and ministry exceed our resources? Or when we follow Jesus’ commands and find ourselves in a storm? Or when we start to “walk on water” in a new faith venture ï¿½ï¿½
In this message, entitle “Church on Purpose”, Pastor Cam leads the church in a review of the church’s mission statement. What are we doing well? What are we not doing so well? How does God want you to be involved?
The news headlines are frightening as the world seems to lurch ever closer to chaos and disaster. What lies at the heart of the problems? And should our response be as the followers of Christ? The Apostle Paul also faced a world in chaos. In 1 Timothy 2:1-7, he offers some simple, “back to basics” instructions for believers, based on the abiding truth that there is One God and One Mediator.
On the threshold of a new school and church ministry year, Pastor Cam shares three word pictures from the Book of Jeremiah as we Get Ready, Get Set... for the challenges the new year will bring.
The Father's Heart: Love, Seek, Save (The Prodigal Family: Part 3)
In part 3 of the series entitled, The Prodigal Family, Pastor Mark looks at the true star of this parable, namely, the father. The father in the story represents God, our Father. The sermon will focus on how the father dealt with each of his sons and why. In addition, Pastor Mark will finish with some practical points on how we might be a reflection of the Father's love and compassion today.
Prevention of Faith (The Prodigal Family: Part 2)
In part 2 of The Prodigal Family series, Pastor Mark deal with the eldest brother of the Prodigal son. While the Prodigal or Lost son was the rebellious one, the elder brother was the religious son. In the story, he is a picture of the Pharisees and religious leaders of the day. While it appears that the youngest son is furthest from faith and
Rejection & Return (The Prodigal Family: Part 1)
This is the first of a 3 part series by Pastor Mark. In this message he focuses on the youngest son who rebells against his father, family, and community and leaves for a distant land hoping to gain what he cannot find. It is a journey that we all can relate to, for it is our journey.
Hope Applied in the Church (Words of Hope 2 Th - Part 5)
Hope in God's Work (Words of Hope 2 Th - Part 4)
What is God's plan for your life? Is that a question you struggle to find the answer to? In today's text, Paul reminded the Thessalonians of what God had done in their lives, and asked for their prayer. In this context, we find a reminder of what God is doing in the world, and what we should be doing with Him.
Hope in God's Supremacy (Words of Hope 2 Th - Part 3)
The state of the world, the persecution of Christians, and the fact that things seem to be getting worse rather than better can cause us to question if God really has control of it all. Today, Paul encourages the believers in Thessalonica that not only is God in control, His authority cannot even be challenged. He does this in the context of the persecution the church was facing in his own time, as well as looking forward to the greatest rebellion against God the world will ever see.
Hope in God's Justice (Words of Hope 2 Th - Part 2)
The world is a troubling place with so much injustice happening every day. On top of that, the church of Christ is being persecuted around the world at an alarming frequeincy. Do you ever look at all this and wonder when or if God will do anything about all the evil in the world? This is the central question of our text today as we continue the series on the words of hope that Paul wrote to a young, heavily persecuted church in Thessalonica. He reminded them to hope in God's justice because He has not been idle. God is already at work against the evil in the world and that work will be completed when Jesus returns.
Hope in God's Favor (Words of Hope 2 Th - Part 1)
What gives you hope and what is the evidence for that hope? Today we begin a series that explores the words of hope that Paul wrote to the young, persecuted church in Thessalonica. In this first part, Paul encourages the church by pointing out the evidence of God's favor that is clearly displayed among them. We will look at how the very same evidences can confirm our hope in God's unmerited favor toward us today.
Life in the Light (God is Light - Part 5)
Jesus said that you cannot see, much less enter, the Kingdom of God unless you are born again. John said that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born again. The question is, do we have to believe blindly or is there a solid foundation for that belief? In tonight's scripture, we first explore the three witnesses that testify about Jesus. After that, we look at what else we know based on that testimony.
The Marks of a Missional Heart
Light Reveals the Truth (God is Light - Part 4)
Synopsis: There are many groups who say they are Christian, but they don't all agree on what that means. How are we to know if we are walking in the light of the truth or stumbling in the darkness of false teaching? John says that God is light. What we will see is that only this light can reveal the truth.
God's Dominion Through Service
Abide in the Light (God is Light - Part 3)
Light, Love and Faith(God is Light - Part 2)
When a plant is placed next to a window, it gravitates toward the sunshine. In the same way, when we have fellowship with God through faith in Christ, we are drawn toward his light. This week we will explore how fellowship with God enlightens love and faith as we are drawn toward Him.
Two of the most powerful human emotions are Love and Anger. Love we understand far more than we understand Anger. Anger for many is like a runaway train that we cannot control and it ends up smashing into every relationship we have. How do we get a handle on it, what does the Bible say about it, and how do we help someone who is chronically angry? In this sermon, Pastor Mark helps us understand anger and what our response should be to it. We will see that underneath anger is usually the true issue which is triggering our anger: hurt, fear, and frustration.
Fellowship with the Light (God is Light - Part 1)
God established fellowship with people through the incarnation of Christ. Coming into fellowship with the living God will change your life so completely that Jesus called it being born again. In this message we explore this truth and some of the effects of fellowship with God in a person's life.
From Comfort To Discomfort
When Jesus calls us, he calls us from living in a place of comfort to a place of discomfort. In our 1 Corinthians passage we learn that for the apostle Paul, to be a servant of Jesus meant to be a slave to all in order to reach them and see them move towards being a follower of Jesus. In this message, Pastor Mark challenges us to allow the Lord to reach out through our lives to people everywhere via loving relationships - this will be the best Kingdom strategy for building the Kingdom of God. We are His plan to reach those who are far from God.
Together on the Same Page
The very first church was established on the Day of Pentecost after the Holy Spirit was poured out of the people in Jerusalem. It began a new and dynamic work of God upon human history. Listen to this teaching by Pastor Mark as he speaks of the characteristics of this new community of faith. It is our hope that as you hear, reflect, and discuss this teaching with others, that your heart will be challenged and your priorities will be readjusted to pursue the Lord with a renewed focus.
I Will Question You (Job - Part 3)
Job came to God with his questions, demanding answers. When God showed up, he didn’t answer Job’s questions. Instead, God became the questioner: “I Will Question You!” is the title of this sermon from Job 38-42. While God did not answer Job’s questions, he did reveal himself to Job in a new way. This new perspective on God and on life itself was enough for Job. Will it be enough for us?
Then I Prayed to the God of Heaven
Life is full of problems. We all know that. But it is how we respond to the problems that makes all the difference. In Nehemiah 1-2, Nehemiah was faced with a huge problem. How did he respond? And what was the result? As we join Nehemiah on his knees in this message (Then I Prayed to the God of Heaven) we not only learn the importance of making prayer our first response (rather than our last resort), but we learn a valuable 4-point outline to guide our praying.
Questions, Questions, Questions! (Job - Part 2)
Every human being is a theologian. Everyone has a belief system which includes what we believe (or don’t believe) about God and the unseen, spiritual world. And each of us is faced constantly with the task of making sense of the “stuff of life” in light of our theology. This was the task that faced Job and his three friends; making sense of Job’s tragedy in light of what they believed about God. Chapter after chapter and cycle after cycle the debate continues (Job 3-37). Who was right? Who was wrong? And why? Match your thinking and your theology with theirs in this message entitled: Questions, Questions, Questions!
The Hand of Our God Was On Us
There is a wonderful phrase found in the Bible. It is the phrase “The Hand of Our God Was on Us.” That is the title for this message, taken from Ezra 7-8. As Ezra led a group of Jews back to Jerusalem on a mission from God, Ezra repeatedly states, “The hand of our God was on us.” What did Ezra and the other exiles experience as a result of God hand being on them? What are the conditions we must meet if we desire God’s hand to be on us? And what should we do in response when we experience God’s hand working in and through us?
This is the first in a series of three messages from the Book of Job. Entitled “Why?”this message from Job 1-2 sets the stage for the rest of the book. The book raises many questions in our minds that begin with the word “Why?” Life itself presents us with many of the same questions. But in this message we will discover that this book was not written to answer our questions. It was written to ask us a question. How will we answer?
While there are many commands to be found in Scripture, one command stands out far above the others. This is the command to love God and to love others. There are actually two commands that Jesus essentially merges into one single command. The fact is, if you want to know who the people are who love God with their whole beings all you need to do is watch for those who are loving people well. Pastor Mark goes on to address 4 factors which prevent us from trusting in God more and making Him the center of our lives.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah are four Hebrew young men who are Third Culture Kids in the land of Babylon, while their faith in their God gets tested in three specific ways: Extravagant lifestyle offered, Obedience preferred; Names changed but heart stayed true; Passionate Worship at the risk of their lives. As people in this city: Abu Dhabi, a foreign city in a foreign country, we will go through these same tests. How did they respond? Will we respond as they did?
In this message, Pastor Cam tackles the tough questions of Christian faith and how it relates to the issue of physical health, prayer and the claim that “that there is healing in the atonement.” As the sermon title (Why Am I Still Sick?) indicates, Christians still experience the usual list of human illnesses, including those that end in death. Do we need more faith? Or do we need a better understanding of the Scriptures? Using passages from Romans 8 and 2 Corinthians 4-5, we explore the distinction between the “now” and the “not yet” of the Christian faith and learn to live by faith in the “now” of the Christian life, while we live in hope for the “not yet” of our coming resurrection.
For this Easter Sunrise service message, Pastor Cam raided another man’s sermon file. Borrowing from a very old sermon (actually preached by the Apostle Peter in Acts 10:34-43) we find that because of Easter, The Gospel Is Good News! for all who believe in Jesus Christ.
Why Call This Friday Good?
It is a logical question. It was a day of darkness, violence and a massive miscarriage of justice resulting in the death of the only truly innocent man who ever lived. The symbol for the day is a cross. So why do we call it Good Friday? In this sermon (Why Call This Friday “Good”?) we address this question and, using Romans 5:6-11 as our text, we find that in spite of the horror of the day, the events of Good Friday represent the greatest love story ever told.
Glorious Injustice (On the Way to the Cross - Part 24)
What does it mean to “walk in the Spirit” and how do we do it? That is the topic for this message as we review the Scripture’s teaching in Ephesians 5:15-21 and Galatians 5:16-25. Along the way we learn who the Holy Spirit is, his purpose and intent in our lives to transform us into the likeness of Christ, and how we can “keep in step” with Him.
This Friday, many schools (students and teachers) were away for spring break; a chance for a rest and a “mini-holiday” to be refreshed. The Apostle Paul talks about people who “refreshed his spirit.” In other words, they provided him with a “mini-holiday” spiritually, which in turn provided him with the refreshment and strength to keep going. In this message (Spring Break!) we comb the Scriptures for clues about how we can provide this kind of encouragement and refreshment to one another in the Body of Christ.
Baptism is Not a Graduation Ceremony!
Today, between the services, we witnessed the baptism of 15 people. This message was for them (and for all who have been baptized in the past). The title is “Baptism Is Not a Graduation Ceremony!” Why is this important to know and to remember? Once we understand that baptism marks the beginning of a journey and not the end, what are some “rules for the road”?
Engage in Business Until I Come (On the Way to the Cross - Part 21)
In preparation for the baptism service next Friday this message (entitled Time to Take a Stand) looks at 1 Corinthians 15:1-5. What is the gospel? What Scriptures is Paul talking about? What does it mean to “take a stand” on the gospel? And what does all this have to do with baptism?
Who Can Be Saved (On the Way to the Cross - Part 20)
Radical Love and the Pursuit of People
After having a missions service the previous week, Pastor Mark challenges us this week to
Unfruitful Servants (On the Way to the Cross - Part 18)
When people hear the word 'Christian,' what comes to their minds? Do they think of a certain type of building, cross shaped jewelry, angry preachers waving their bibles, or people who condemn everyone else's sin? Every Christian has the responsibility to display the character traits of real followers of Jesus. In today's text we look at four of these traits that Christians should be known for.
In Matthew 13:24-52, Jesus continued to teach in parables as he revealed to his disciples the Secrets of the Kingdom. What were these secrets? In what sense was this “new truth” for his disciples? What are the lessons for the church and kingdom workers today?
This is the second of two messages from Philippians 3. In this message (The Road Ahead) we follow Paul as he describes the journey forward from his Damascus Road experience. That day, he gave up his confidence in his own efforts and performance and entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ. But was that the end of the story? Find out in this message!
He Spoke to Them in Parables
In this message (He Spoke to Them in Parables) from Matthew 13:1-23, we study the Parable of the Sower, one of Jesus’ most famous parables, and wrestle with several key questions. Why did Jesus use parables? How does the context of Matthew 12 help us understand this dramatic new development in Jesus’ ministry? How did this parable help Jesus’ followers know what to expect in the development of God’s kingdom? How does it help us as we engage in kingdom work? And then a probing question for self-evaluation ï¿½
Sitting in the Right Chair
This message (Sitting in the Right Chair) is the first of two messages from Philippians 3. If you were sitting in a waiting room between heaven and hell - and you were asked, “Why should you be allowed to enter heaven?” how would you answer? All answers ultimately fall into one of two categories. We are all sitting in one of two chairs. Which one are you sitting in?
In a person's life, skills and experience are important ... but the heart is of paramount importance. Scripture reveals that the heart is the center and seat of the spiritual life. If we fail to cultivate and guard our hearts we are in danger of ruin and we may not fully enter into all the God would have for our lives. In this message, Pastor Mark helps us to see how important the heart (character) is in the Bible and, 1) What it means to guard the heart, 2) Why you should guard your heart, and 3) How you should guard your heart.
The Gospel or Your Money (On the Way to the Cross - Part 17)
Show me your checkbook, and I will show you your priorities. What you spend your money on can reveal a lot about what you love and what matters most to you. Too often as Christians we avoid the topic of how God would have us spend our money because we are afraid we might have to modify our priorities. In Luke 16, Jesus taught that you cannot serve both God and money, but you must serve God with your money.
Matthew wrote his gospel with a Jewish audience in mind. He was particularly interested in tracing the reaction of the Jewish leaders and the nation to Jesus’ Messianic claims. In Matthew 12, Jesus makes some dramatic claims. In this sermon entitled Something Greater... we explore those claims and the Jews’ response to them. As we do so, we are challenged to examine our own reaction to the claims of the Messiah.
Lost and Found (On the Way to the Cross - Part 16)
Have you ever lost something important? You anxiously search for the thing while it is lost. But if you find it, your anxiety turns to joy. In Luke 15, Jesus tells three parables that illustrate the intense joy of God when people lost in sin are found by faith in Jesus. God's pursuit of the lost and joy when they are found have profound implications for us as Christians that we cannot ignore.
Come to Me...and Find Rest
When Jesus was on earth, people responded to him and to his claims in different ways. The same is true today. In Matthew 11, we see three different responses to Jesus portrayed, and how Jesus spoke to each one. You may see yourself in one of these portraits. Whatever your present (or past) reaction to Jesus, his invitation is open: Come to Me...and Find Rest.
Are You Sure You Want to Follow Jesus? (On the Way to the Cross - Part 15)
Jesus requires that his disciples love him above family, self, comfort, safety, life. and all else. He says plainly that anything less and you are not his disciple. In this sermon, we explore one of Jesus' most shocking and difficult teachings on the high cost of being Jesus' disciple.
In Matthew 9:36-38, Jesus asked his followers to “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers.” In Matthew 10, Jesus sent them out in answer to their own prayers. Before he did, he prepared them by telling them what to expect and how they were to respond as representatives of the king, engaged in kingdom work. In this message, The Sent Ones, we examine the implications of Jesus’ instructions; which ones were for the disciples specifically, and which ones are applicable to us today and what can we expect as we carry the message of Christ and his kingdom to the world.
Enter Through the Narrow Door (On the Way to the Cross - Part 14)
Will many people be saved or only a few? Jesus taught that we must strive to enter the narrow door to the Kingdom of God. As we will see, the door is not only narrow but unique, difficult to enter, often misunderstood, and will not be open forever.
At the conclusion of Jesus’ sermon, the crowds were astonished at his teaching because he taught “With Authority”. That is the title for this sermon, taken from Matthew 8 and 9 as Matthew shows how Jesus demonstrated his authority with a series of miracles. Join the disciples for ringside seat as the King demonstrates his power. But not everyone was impressed. We also look at the variety of responses of the people who witnessed Jesus’ miracles. People today still respond to Jesus in a wide variety of ways. Maybe you will find yourself in one of these descriptions!
Set for Life (On the Way to the Cross - Part 13)
We all long to be set for life in terms of our money and possessions. The problem is that most of us are not where we want to be, or are afraid to lose what we have.The problem is that this longing leads to coveting, hording, and anxiety because your heart is always with what you treasure. Jesus taught that his followers are to handle money and possessions in better way that is free from these sins and glorifying to God.
Building on the Rock! In this first sermon of the New Year, we look at the conclusion to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:24-27. And we find it makes a great place to start 2014 with the challenge to build our lives on the rock instead of on sand. In this sermon, Pastor Cam also contrast a “learning and growing” model of discipleship with a “hearing and doing model”. How are they different? Which one are we following at ECC? And how does the story of the two men and their houses illustrate the difference?
A Lawyer's Test (On the Way to the Cross - Part 12)
We have all heard teaching on the parable of the good Samaritan many times. What if I were to tell you that this section of scripture is not about a Samaritan at all? Instead, it is about an Israelite lawyer who tried to twist the law of God to justify himself. In this sermon, we explore the true meaning of this parable and see that the way we obey God sheds light on how much we love Him.
Fresh Start for a New Year
From time to time we all would like to have a fresh start in our lives. In this sermon, the Apostle Paul reveals three aspects that we can learn from and apply as we enter into a new year. Even though we all have made mistakes in our past and have fallen far short of God's standard, we can have fresh hope for the future.
God So Loved the World that He Gave...
It’s Christmas; a time for giving and receiving gifts. Yet all too often the most important gift is neglected and ignored, left unwrapped under the Christmas tree. In this message, we examine the greatest gift of all ï¿½
Absurd Heraldry (On the Way to the Cross - Part 11)
Shepherds in their fields keeping watch over their flocks by night when angels appear heralding the birth of Christ. There is something absurd in this story that we miss because we have heard it so many times. Once we recognize the absurdity, we can understand the real glory of this scene.
Every good sermon has a conclusion. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is no exception. In fact, all of Matthew 7 can be seen as a conclusion as Jesus applies what he has just said in chapters 5 and 6 to his audience, beginning with the exhortation that we should apply the truth to ourselves first. This and 5 other applications form the outline for this sermon entitled In Conclusion based on Matthew 7:1-23.
Are You Looking Forward to Christmas?
There's one word that goes along with Christmas, expectation. Just as we have a growing sense of expectation the closer Christmas approaches, so we should have a growing expectation when we watch for the Lord's second coming. In this message we look at Christmas through the eyes of two unlikely Christmas characters, the prophet Simeon and the prophetess, Anna in Luke 2. They exhibited 4 qualities that we can learn from and grow in as we too wait expectantly for the Lord's appearance.