You Are Not Alone

Matthew 11:28

Last Week Stopped Short of the Full Story

Last week, in my sermon “Like a Feather,” we discussed how Jesus’ yoke is easy and His burden is light.

How salvation itself is “easy.”

Just believe…have faith…in Jesus.

So simple it is hard to accept.

But true.

However, we had to stop there or my sermon would have gone on way too long. 🙂

I also noted that doubt’s yoke is hard and burden is heavy. A such, stopping at the point of salvation doesn’t remove the yoke or lift the burden completely, does it?

Great, you were saved. Great, I was saved. Great, we were saved.

But you mess up…I mess up…we mess up so much. Avoiding sin seems anything but an easy yoke or light burden.

Have we lost our salvation?

Will we lose our salvation?

Were we every saved?

Doubt’s yoke is hard and burden is heavy.

[Read more…]

Light as a Feather

Ox pulling plowLight as a Feather


Do you feel overloaded by life?

  • That there is too much expected out of you by your boss?
  • That there is too much expected out of you by your friends?
  • That there is too much expected out of you by your family?
  • That there is too much expected out of you by your spouse or significant other?
  • That there is too much expected out of you by society?
  • That there is too much expected out of you at work?
  • That there is too much expected out of you at home?

My guess is that unless you are younger than a teenager it is very, very likely that you have said yes to one or all of those.

And I suspect that I could changed “expected” to “demanded” in all of those and you would still say yes to at least a couple of them.

Does your neck feel crushed and your shoulders feel very, very heavy with the burdens put on them?

At times mine do. Some of it is my own fault. Bills I shouldn’t have created. Tasks I shouldn’t have volunteered for.

However, even subtracting those and the fact my wife has fair expectations of me…sometimes I feel overloaded…like what I am yoked with is too heavy for me to handle. The burden can overwhelming.

But I have some really, really good news for you and me. 🙂 [Read more…]

How You Should Vote in 2016

Ribbon with the word 'Vote' on it

Don’t Worry IRS

When this sermon’s notes go up on the web, if the IRS has a bots that searching for “misbehaving” ministers, then this should set off its alarms since it is titled, “How You Should Vote in 2016.”

However, they…and you…don’t have to worry. I am not going to put our tax deductible status at risk by endorsing either candidate.

Now, if I thought God wanted me to…I would regardless of the implications…but I don’t think He does. I can tell you that the two main ones are both horribly flawed from a Christian perspective…and I suspect if I spent time checking out their competition…they also wouldn’t fair well from a biblical perspective.

It’s About You

Instead, this isn’t about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, it’s about you.

How you should vote, not who you should vote for.

How how you vote…and how how you participate beforehand…reflects on you.

And, I’ll be honest, this election season is sucking the life out of me…so I’m going to keep this short.

I could just skip preaching about it, but just as Paul “did not shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), I will not avoid painful subjects.


[Read more…]

Acting Like Romans

Roman soldierI ran into a really interesting article tonight thanks to Instapundit about “How Roman Central Planners Destroyed Their Economy.” Although not all enacted by today’s progressives in the United States (yet)…it does seem like Romans created a progressive’s playbook. (Just read the article…think Venezuala…you’ll understand.) Strangling, escalating, damaging control of people and markets.

What got me really thinking, however, was when I recognized the most intrusive emporer’s name because of another reason. He is the same one known for the most extreme persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire:

The Diocletianic Persecution (or Great Persecution) was the last and most severe persecution of Christians in the Roman empire.[1] In 303, the Emperors Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius and Constantius issued a series of edicts rescinding the legal rights of Christians and demanding that they comply with traditional Roman religious practices.

I couldn’t help but wonder, does this anecdotally show a correlation between the progressive affinity for totalitarianism and their persecution of Christians? They’ll tell you how every part of your life is to be lived and will not allow you to worship any other God than theirs. (For instance, it would not be far-fetched to compare “demanding that they comply with traditional Roman religious practices” and basically banning businesses that won’t bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.) As Dennis Prager says, leftism is a religion.

Either way, random Friday night thought…

Noah’s Sermon on Our Resurrection

Jesus' empty tomb

Three of Two 🙂

Last week I started my talk by saying it was the second of a pair of sermons for kids. Basically two of two.

This week is three of two. 🙂

The reason we are going to have a third sermon aimed at children is because my heart was drawn to Noah and his family. If anyone is unfamiliar with Noah (for instance, our listeners on the Internet), he is a little boy who has brain cancer. The prognosis is not good, and although we’ve been praying for his healing…there is a really good chance that he will not make it into the new year.

Adults, if your child did not have long to live, what would you tell them?

Kids, if your friends…or their brothers or sisters…didn’t have long to live, what would you tell them?

Today, I will suggest what you should tell them.

And it makes sense that “Noah’s Sermon on Our Resurrection” be connected to “Augie’s Sermon on the Cross” and “Augie’s Sermon on the Second Coming,” because the first explained exactly why we, including little boys sometimes, die…and the second one mentioned our resurrection as we learned three things we know for sure about the end times.

As a quick review:

In “Augie’s Sermon on the Cross” we learned we die because of cause and effect:

Cause: Sin.

Effect: Death.

And we also learned that Jesus had to die on the cross to make sure our death would only be temporary, not for eternity.

As for the three things we know for sure about the end times from “Augie’s Sermon on the Second Coming,” do you remember what they were?

  • Jesus will return.
  • Jesus will return visibly.
  • Jesus will return when people don’t expect it.

Today, I will add a fourth thing we know for sure.

[Read more…]

Augie’s Sermon on the Second Coming

Jesus in the clouds

Two of Two

This is the second in a pair of sermons…and as with last week…kids I want you to pay special attention…as they said in the military, “Eyes front!” 🙂

Do you remember the name of last week’s talk?

That’s right, “Augie’s Sermon on the Cross,” where we learned why Jesus had to die.

You didn’t forget all of that already did you? 🙂

Do you remember the rules for preaching for children?

  • Use simple words.
  • Keep it short.
  • See #1 and #2.

Did we succeed with those last week? Mostly? 🙂

I’m not sure I would say it was short…but “Augie’s Sermon on the Cross” required a lot of introduction…and this one won’t.

So, shall we stay with those ground rules kids? Simple words and short?

Funny Words

So in today’s sermon we’ll talk about amillennialism, premillennialism, postmillenialism, futurism, preterism, historicism, and eschatology.

Sound good?

Now, those weren’t simple words, were they? Sounded kind of funny too, didn’t they. But, definitely not simple.

And what was rule #1?

Right, “Use simple words.”

But the reason I mention them is because they help show that talking about what people believe will happen at the end here on earth…

[Read more…]

Augie’s Sermon on the Cross

Three crosses with a red sky

Choosing a Sermon Topic

Kids…as best as you can…this week I need you to pay attention. No, I won’t make you put everything away…but you’ll shortly understand why this week and next you shouldn’t tune me out. So…

Do I have your attention?!

I said…

Do I have your attention?! 🙂

Early this week I asked Augie what I should do a sermon on. He responded that I should preach about Jesus on the cross and Jesus coming back.

What do you think? Were those good suggestions?

They were awesome suggestions!

However, to do both at once would break one of the rules of preaching for children, so this week it’s “Augie’s Sermon on the Cross” and next will be “Augie’s Sermon on the Second Coming.”

So far so good?

And the reason, [fill in the kid’s names here], I need you to pay attention is that although this sermon is titled “Augie’s Sermon on the Cross”…it’s not just for him…it’s for you too.

Do I still have your attention? 🙂

Preaching to Children

Now, in order to preach to you, I figure there are some rules. Can you tell me if I have them right?

  • Use simple words.
  • Keep it short.
  • See #1 and #2.

Did I get that right? Three simple rules and we’re good?! 🙂

Let’s repeat the together:

  • Use simple words.
  • Keep it short.
  • See #1 and #2.

Related to those three rules, let me share a quick story about a famous physicist who was also a very fun guy, Richard Feynman. One time he promised to write a lesson about a really difficult topic for students who were starting their first year of college.

He failed at that and said, “You know, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t reduce it to the freshman level. That means we really don’t understand it.”

And to be honest kids, if we adults cannot explain something important about God simple enough that a child can understand…

Well, maybe not a toddler. 🙂

If we adults cannot explain something important about God simple enough for you to understand, then…

Maybe we really don’t understand it. [Read more…]

Time in a Bottle (Redux)

Hourglass running out of sand


I call this sermon “Time in a Bottle (Redux)” because, back on October 3 of 2010, I did a sermon called “Time in a Bottle.” The title of both talks is based on Jim Croce’s classic love song of the same name…well, minus “Redux” in this one :-)…

The first time I started it off with Ephesians 5:15-17…

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

…and the primary point of the first sermon is summed up by its very end:

I also know that we can learn, from his experience and the Bible, that we can never assume we have more time.

So I ask you…Christian…and non-Christian…

How should you be spending your time?

Where will you be spending your time in eternity?

Outside Looking In

This time…no pun intended :-)…however, what brings “time in a bottle” to mind for me is a part of the conversation James, Nev, and I had during the Bible study Nev led before service last week. As beings trapped in space and time, it is impossible for us to understand an existence outside it.

To understand a state with no time.

Don’t agree? Let’s do a quick test. I have my handy, old-fashioned stopwatch here…for five seconds I want you to imagine no time. Ready? Go!

[ Wait five seconds. ]

How successful were you? I bet you were very aware of every second that passed. The silence…well minus the constant hum of the fans and coolers here…might have been deafening.

Now, in fairness to you…it’s not like this is an optimal atmosphere to think of “no time” and I didn’t give you…time…to prep…but, regardless, at best you can lose track of time. You cannot truly imagine no time because, without time, you wouldn’t exist. It is foundational to your being and your experience.

You might say that time is trapped in a bottle and we are trapped in time. As such, we are also trapped in that bottle.

Whereas, I would argue, God created that bottle and is on the outside looking in.

And if I am going to make a convincing argument about that, what will I have to base it on?

That’s right, the Bible! 🙂

So let’s turn there…

[Read more…]

I Promise

Backyard rainbow

I Love Rainbows

I. Love. Rainbows.

How about you?

And one of the greatest things about living in Strasburg, Colorado is that not only are there quite a few of them, our open fields mean often we can see them end-to-end…resulting in some spectacular views.

When you see a rainbow, what does it remind you of?

A pot of gold at the end? 🙂

Something else?

For me, it brings to mind what may be the most famous promise from God in the Bible. Backstory is that humanity has become so degraded and evil, God kills all but eight with a worldwide flood (see 1 Peter 3:18-22). Noah and his family are spared…and afterward…I suspect…might worry about it happening again. Enter God:

8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth (Genesis 9:8-17).

So…when I look out past my backyard and see a rainbow…I remember God’s gracious promise to…even if we deserve it (and we probably do)…flood the world again.

Oh, and is that promise for us? How do you know?

[Read more…]

You Have Been Warned

Downhill trend warning sign

Jeremiah’s Call

Today I would like to jump right into Scripture.

Is that okay with you? 🙂

Let’s turn to the first chapter of Jeremiah…starting with verse 4…and look how that young man was called:

4 Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

5  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

and before you were born I consecrated you;

I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” 7 But the LORD said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;

for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,

and whatever I command you, you shall speak.

8  Do not be afraid of them,

for I am with you to deliver you,

declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 1:4-8)

And let’s scan not quite 10 verses down to verse 17…part of a section that starts with “The word of the Lord came to me [Jeremiah] a second time…” (Jeremiah 1:13):

17 But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them (Jeremiah 1:17).

Pretty impressive calling, eh? Known before he was formed in the womb…consecrated…and appointed a prophet!

Our calling is far more ordinary…more bland…right?

Peter can help us with that:

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation (1 Peter 2:9-12).

Wow! Chosen race! Royal priesthood! Holy Nation!

A people for his own possession!

Notice also that we may not have been “appointed a prophet,” but we are to “proclaim [God’s] excellencies.”

So, we don’t have the same exact calling as Jeremiah…but it sure seems equally impressive, doesn’t it?

Requires Commitment

Please notice one more thing. Both callings came with an exhortation to commitment. With Jeremiah he is told not to fear…and “Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them.” With us, we are urged “as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh that wage war against your soul.”

These are not commitment-less callings. We represent the Most High!

And…I think we can be confident that just like Jeremiah would be expected “to abstain from the passions of the flesh,” we would be expected to stand up for God and not be dismayed. If you don’t agree with the latter, how about these words from Jesus Himself?:

32 So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven (Matthew 10:32-33).

Seem’s very similar to “do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them,” does it not?

[Read more…]


With life so short
And the world so cold
It should not be so easy
To give up on a friend

“We Can’t Do It Alone”

"We Can't Do It Alone" on Amazon MusicBeginnings


What do you say at beginnings?

  • At a birth?
  • At a wedding?
  • At the formation of a new congregation in the body of Christ?

Do you…

  • Ignore it and move on to the tactical needs of life?
  • Quickly recognize the occasion and move on?
  • Slow down and take the time to truly, fully recognize the importance of the beginning?

I’ll admit, with beginnings, I am more of the “ignore it” or “quickly recognize” it type of person…although I was smart enough not to do that with any of our births or Michelle and my wedding. 🙂 I am a “tactical” being, with my brain moving on to the next task that needs to be done, not reflecting on the thing that just happened.

But today is truly a momentous day!

Just think, if “there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (see Luke 15:10), then there has to be at least a bunch of smiles when the Lord’s adopted children form a new family for those repenting sinners to join.

And I wouldn’t be surprised…

If some of those angels are standing…or maybe even sitting…beside you.

So, let’s slow down together.

Let’s recognize the company we are in…and I’m not just talking about our brothers and sisters…and angels…but the Most High Himself.

And let’s recognize…ponder…and celebrate the formation of the Strasburg Church of Christ in its humble beginnings…The Pizza Shop in Strasburg, Colorado.

Humble indeed…but greatly appreciated of its Christian owners…and not as humble as the beginnings in a manger over 2,000 years ago that ultimately brought us here today.

Van Zant

You can imagine for a bit before this first service I pondered a bit myself.

What should I talk about? As your minister, what did I want you to hear most our first day with me in your pulpit?

It wasn’t until I heard a county-rock song that I was convinced I knew what I should preach about today. I never presume with the Lord…but it seemed that what we said the first day we met to form this congregation aligned so perfectly with what the Van Zant brothers sang. [Read more…]

King Solomon Versus the Hair Band Poison

King Solomon:

For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief (Ecclesiastes 1:18, New International Version).


Yeah sometimes I wish I didn’t know now
The things I didn’t know then

Yes, the body of Christ is composed from every nation under the sun, and from folks who grew up with all kinds of different music. 🙂

Poison’s “Something to Believe In” (which includes the line at 4:59 in):

Failure to Communicate

Video snapshotWeeks ago I heard Guns N’ Roses’ “Civil War” again, which starts off with this famous quote from Cool Hand Luke:

What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you men.

In this Hollywood case, it is a tyranical, evil prison warden who is saying it to rationalize mistreating a prisoner (played by Paul Newman). However, I cannot help but think that, replacing an evil man with a good God, it can be used to illustrate some biblical truth.

  1. Between God and man, there is a failure to communicate
  2. The issue is on man’s side, not God’s, because…
  3. Some men you just can’t reach
  4. God ultimately gives men what they want
  5. God takes no pleasure in given men what they deserve

(Of course, in this case I am using “man” and “men” in its traditional form, representing humans regardless of gender.)

With the first one, I hope I don’t have to prove it. From the moment Eve first trusted the devil more than our Lord, that failure to communicate has been pretty obvious. As for the problem being on our side (versus God’s), here is an interesting example from just before the first Christian martyr, Stephen, gets stoned:

You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you (Acts 7:51, English Standard Version).

Throughout history, it hasn’t been for a lack of effort on our Lord’s part that men haven’t heard…it’s because we resist. Today, we have even less excuse, because the Ultimate form of communication came:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world (Hebrews 1:1-2).

Yet, there is still a failure to communicate. [Read more…]

Don’t Stop Looking at the Clouds

Closer view of light on fluffy clouds

There was a period in my adulthood where I stopped looking at the clouds. I do not know for sure, but I think it was the stress of a previous job that led to it. Of course, allowing it to do so was my choice, whether or not I realized it.

Life still has its stresses, sometimes as bad (if not worse) than that period. I refuse to stop looking at the clouds again.

God blessed me with these tonight…

Vew of light on fluffy clouds