Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 9/6/2015

Sunday’s final message from The Sermon on the Mount series was called Doing What You Hear, taken from Matthew 7:24-29. Here is a brief outline of the message:

I. The similarities between the two builders and their houses
   A. Both heard Christ’s words (Romans 10:17)
   B. Both built houses (1 Corinthians 3:10)
   C. Both houses were tested (1 Peter 1:7)

II. The differences between the two builders and their houses
   A. One put Jesus’ words into practice / the other did not put them into practice
      – 1 John 2:3-4
   B. One was a wise man / the other was a foolish man
      – Proverbs 8:35-36
   C. One built his house on the rock / the other built his house on sand
      – 1 Corinthians 3:11
   D. One house did not fall / the other fell with a great crash
      – Proverbs 10:25; 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

III. The response to Jesus’ sermon (Matthew 7:28-29)
   A. The crowds were amazed at the content of his teaching
   B. The crowds were amazed at the manner of his teaching
      1) Jesus taught as one who had authority
      2) Jesus did not teach like their teachers of the law
   C. What will be your response to Jesus’ sermon?

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Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 8/30/2015

Sunday’s message from The Sermon on the Mount series was called Genuine Christianity, taken from Matthew 7:13-23. Here is a brief outline of the message:

I. Genuine Christianity begins with a true conversion (13-14)
      – two gates leading to two different roads
   A. “Enter through the narrow gate.” (John 10:9, 14:6)
   B. The wide road leads to destruction – many find it (Proverbs 14:12)
   C. The narrow road leads to life – few find it (Luke 13:23-24)

II. Genuine Christianity produces a fruitful life (15-20)
      – two trees producing two different kinds of fruit
   A. “Watch out for false prophets.” (Jeremiah 23:21-22)
      1) They are dangerous and deceptive
      2) You will recognize them by their fruit
   B. Every good tree bears good fruit:
      – obedience to Christ and his words
   C. A bad tree bears bad fruit:
      – cut down and thrown into the fire (cf. Matthew 3:10)

III. Genuine Christianity ends with a favorable judgment (21-23)
      – two professions resulting in two different destinies
   A. The person who professes faith in Christ and does the will of Jesus’ Father will enter the kingdom of heaven. (John 6:28-29)
   B. The person who professes faith but does not actually follow Christ will be turned away by Christ himself. (John 5:22)
      1) your words will not save you on that day (Romans 10:9)
      2) your deeds will not save you on that day (2 Thessalonians 2:9)
   C. “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (John 10:14)
      – not genuine Christianity because no real relationship with Christ

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Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 8/23/2015

Sunday’s message from The Sermon on the Mount series was called God Wants You to Ask, taken from Matthew 7:7-12. Here is a brief outline of the message:

I. God’s promise to answer prayer (7-8)
   A. Ask, seek, knock
      – Matthew 5:3,6, 6:8-13,33; John 16:24; James 4:2-3
   B. Everyone who asks, receives (seeks – finds; knocks – opens)
      – Jeremiah 29:13; John 3:16, 6:37

II. God’s principle in answering prayer (9-11)
   A. Human fathers give good gifts to their children
      1) illustration of bread/stone and fish/snake
      2) human fathers are sinful, yet they give good gifts
   B. How much more will God give good gifts to those who ask him!
      1) God is perfect, loving and righteous
      2) God is your heavenly Father
   C. Two more principles in God answering prayer:
      1) your heart (Psalm 66:18)
      2) God’s wisdom and love (Psalm 34:10; James 1:17)

III. God’s positive rule for living – the Golden Rule (12)
   A. Phrased positively rather than negatively
   B. Phrased absolutely rather than specific circumstances
      – “in everything”
   C. Jesus’ reason for following the Golden Rule:
      – sums up the Law and the Prophets

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Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 8/16/2015

Sunday’s message from The Sermon on the Mount series was called Judging Others / Judging Yourself, taken from Matthew 7:1-6. Here is a brief outline of the message:

I. What does Jesus mean by “Do not judge”? (verse 1)
   A. He does not prohibit making moral judgments.
      – John 7:24; Ephesians 5:11
   B. He does forbid a critical, judgmental spirit.
      – Romans 10:14

II. Why shouldn’t you judge others? (verses 1-5)
   A. You’re not the judge. (1)
      – Romans 14:4; James 4:11-12
   B. God will judge you the same way you judge others. (2)
      – Matthew 5:5, 6:12; Romans 2:1; James 2:12-13
   C. You should be more concerned about judging yourself.
      1) You know your own sins better than anyone else’s. (3)
      2) It’s hypocritical to care about others’ sins more than your own. (4)
      3) You can’t help others with their sins until you’ve first addressed your own. (5a)
   D. God calls you to help others rather than judge them. (5b)
      – Galatians 6:1; 1 Peter 4:8

III. What about those who refuse to be helped? (verse 6)
   A. You cannot force the gospel on people.
   B. Do not engage those who treat the gospel with contempt.
      – Proverbs 9:8, 23:9; Matthew 10:14
   C. Understand the supreme value of following Jesus and God’s Word
      – Psalm 19:10; Matthew 13:45-46

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Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 7/19/2015

Sunday’s message from The Sermon on the Mount series was called Not To Worry, taken from Matthew 6:25-34. Here is a brief outline of the message:

I. Worry is unnecessary for you as a Christian (25-30)
   A. Life is more important than food, the body than clothes (25)
   B. A lesson from the birds (26-27)
      1) Your heavenly Father feeds them. (Psalm 145:15)
      2) Worry doesn’t change a thing. (Psalm 39:4, 139:16)
   C. A lesson from the flowers (28-30)
      1) God clothes the grass of the field. (Psalm 127:2)
      2) Worry is incompatible with faith.

II. Worry is unworthy of you as a Christian (31-33)
   A. The pagans run after all these things.
   B. We are to seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness.
   C. Your heavenly Father will provide all these things as well.
      – Romans 8:32; Philippians 4:19

III. Worry is unproductive for you as a Christian (34)
   A. Worry has to do with the future.
   B. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
      – Lamentations 3:22-23

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6)

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Senator Lankford Speech on Planned Parenthood Video [Transcript]

Powerful words from Senator James Lankford on the Planned Parenthood video:

Senator Lankford Speaks about Planned Parenthood Video on Senate Floor


“Mr. President, I’d like to take just a moment to be able to speak about a subject that’s very, very difficult for me to speak about, and quite frankly difficult for a lot of Americans to talk about and hear about. It connects to all of us, in extremely personal ways. Let me set some context. Not long ago a group of animal rights activists gathered around a research facility, a research facility that was using animals for their testing. The activists gathered around the facility and chanted and has signs that they held up saying ‘it’s not science, it’s violence.’ And other signs that said ‘animal lives are their right, we have just begun to fight.’ As they protested to protect the lives of the animals that were being used in that facility for research.

Now, I understand their frustration there. But let me put it into context of some things that came out this week. We learned that this week an organization called Planned Parenthood is using children that are aborted and sending the bodies of those aborted children to research facilities, sometimes for sale, different body parts, to be used in research. These are not mice, these are not lab rats, these are children. Children that have gone through the process of a horrific abortion.

This morning in an Appropriations hearing, that the President and I both were in, we had extensive conversation about the rights of orca whales. And this protracted conversation went on and on, that many people were also connected to, about the rights of orca whales and the care for them. Then we had a protracted conversation about horse slaughter and how horses would be humanely put down. But in the middle of all that conversation happening today, there were children still being aborted with an instrument reaching into a mother, tearing apart a child but carefully protecting certain organs because those organs would be valuable to sell.

Now, the challenge that we have on this as a nation is, the argument is for that baby. That baby’s really not a baby, it’s just a fetus, it’s tissue. That’s not a human baby is what everyone is told. That’s just tissue and it’s up to the mom to determine what happens to that tissue. And then on the flip side of it moments later they take that tissue and then sell it because it’s human organs that are needed for research. You can’t say in one moment that’s not a human and then sell it for the next moment as a human organ and say now suddenly it is. It was a human all the way through. There was never a time that wasn’t a child, never a time that wasn’t a human, and it seems the ultimate irony to me that we spend time talking about humane treatment of animals being put down like in horse slaughter and we completely miss children being ripped apart in the womb and their body parts being sold.

So here’s how it happens. A mom comes into a facility, gives consent to have an abortion, makes that request. After that request is made, to some moms — and we don’t know exactly how they choose which moms — to some moms they then ask consent for their child after it’s aborted to be used for research purposes. From the video that was put out this week, they said that was actually comforting to some moms that they would know how traumatic the abortion is, at least some good would come out of it, that those body parts would then be used for research to hopefully save other children, which again comes back to this ultimate irony that we would literally tear one child apart in an abortion with the assumption that hopefully would help some other child in the future, missing out on the significance of the child that’s right there that could be helped by protecting their life.

And then the doctor in this particular video gives the details of how once they get that consent from the mom, they would be careful to reach in and actually crush the head of the child to kill the child in the womb so they could preserve the rest of the organs because the kidney has value, the liver has value, because the lungs have value, because the muscles in the legs have value. I would tell you that child has value. And that every single adult that can hear me right now was once 20 weeks old in the womb and we can look at each other and understand the difference between that child in the womb and any of us now is time. That’s a human being we’re talking about.

And it doesn’t bring me comfort to know that one child is torn apart so that maybe they can do research on the child’s organs to in some future moment help a different child. Not every woman is being asked that her aborted child would be used for research and we really don’t know the whys. Maybe they’re looking for particularly healthy moms. Maybe they’re looking for very mature, healthy babies. Maybe it’s a situation where a particular mom couldn’t afford to have the abortion procedure and so they swap off and say if you can’t afford to have the abortion procedure maybe we can cover the cost by then possibly selling some of these organs then. We don’t know. But I think maybe the question needs to be asked.

Why this Congress would spend time today debating horse slaughter and debating orca whales, but yet we’ve become so numb to children that the other debate doesn’t seem to come up. Maybe we need to start again as a nation, asking a basic question. If that’s a child, and in our Declaration [of Independence] we said every person that we believe is endowed by our Creator to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, maybe we need to ask as a nation again, do we really believe that?

Let’s start with some basic things. How about a child at 20 weeks that we know scientifically can feel pain? We cannot have their limbs ripped apart in an abortion. There are only seven countries in the world that allow that. We’re in a prime group like North Korea and China with nations that still allow abortions that late. We should ask that question again – is that really who we are as America? Maybe we need to ask the question again with Planned Parenthood, who we give half a billion dollars in funding to, maybe this is not a good idea. And other organizations that serve people all over the country who raise their funds separately, and don’t do it by federal funds. Maybe that’s a legitimate question that we need to ask?

Mr. President… we have hard questions to deal with as a Nation. Budget, regulations, future direction that we’re going. Why don’t we add to the list, do we really care about children or not? And on a day that we passed an education bill, before we pat ourselves on the back saying how much we care about children, let’s make sure we’re dealing with a compassion for children at every age, not just at certain ages. Have we really become this numb? How do we turn it around? With that I yield back.”

HT: James Lankford

Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 7/12/2015

Sunday’s message from The Sermon on the Mount series was called Your Heart on the Line, taken from Matthew 6:19-24. Here is a brief outline of the message:

“Above all else, guard your heart.” (Proverbs 4:23)

I. Two treasures (19-21)
   A. The treasures you store on earth will pass away
      – Job 1:21; Proverbs 23:4-5; Luke 12:16-21
   B. The treasures you store in heaven will last forever
      – Matthew 19:21; Colossians 3:2; 1 Timothy 6:17-19
   C. Your heart follows your treasure (Deuteronomy 6:5)

II. Two sets of eyes (22-23)
   A. The eye is symbolic of your heart (Psalm 119:6,10)
   B. When your heart is right, your path is clear (Psalm 119:105)
   C. When your heart is wrong, you walk in darkness (Prov 4:19)

III. Two masters (24)
   A. No one can serve two masters (James 4:4)
   B. Your heart can only be fully devoted to one (Psalm 62:10)
   C. You cannot serve both God and Money (Matthew 6:33)

   1) Your treasure determines your heart.
   2) Your heart determines the course of your life.
   3) You cannot divide your heart between two masters.
Therefore: Choose this day whom you will serve! (Joshua 24:15)

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Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 7/5/2015

Sunday’s message from The Sermon on the Mount series was called Talking to Your Heavenly Father, taken from Matthew 6:9-15. Here is a brief outline of the message:

I. How do we approach God in prayer? (9; also Ecclesiastes 5:2)
   A. “Our” – We approach God as part of his people
   B. “Father” – We approach God in childlike trust
   C. “Heaven” – We approach God with reverence and respect

II. Pray first about God’s concerns (9-10; also Matthew 4:17, 6:33)
   A. God’s name – Pray that people will honor and reverence the Lord
      1) “to hallow” means to reverence, to honor, to consider holy
      2) God’s name refers to God’s character or person
   B. God’s kingdom – Pray that God’s rule will overcome the world
   C. God’s will – Pray for obedience to God’s commands here on earth

III. Pray about our three main needs (11-15; also Proverbs 30:8-9)
   A. Physical needs – Pray for the daily needs of ourselves and others
      1) “bread” – symbolic of all that is necessary to sustain life
      2) “today” – trust God to provide what we need when we need it
      3) “daily” – that which is needful; we are not to pray for excess
   B. Forgiveness – Pray for forgiveness for the sins we have committed
      Note: Jesus assumes that if you have been forgiven, you will also forgive others (14-15)
   C. Spiritual victory – Pray for deliverance from temptation and Satan’s power
      1) God never tempts us (James 1:13)
      2) Ask God to help you avoid situations where sin becomes hard to resist (Psalm 23:3)
      3) We all need God’s power to overcome Satan – you can’t make it on your own!

IV. Doxology
   A. Yours is the kingdom – God alone rules over all creation
   B. Yours is the power – God alone has power to answer our prayers
   C. Yours is the glory – God alone is worthy of all praise and honor
   D. Forever – These things will always be true of our God!

Note: Click on the Sermons tab at the top of the blog for this and other messages.

Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 6/21/2015

Sunday’s message from The Sermon on the Mount series was called Being a Secret Christian, taken from Matthew 6:1-8, 16-18. Here is a brief outline of the message:

Hypocritical vs. authentic righteousness: “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (verse 1)

I. Giving in secret (2-4)
   A. The wrong way to give:
      • To be honored by other people (“with trumpets”)
         – already received their reward in full
   B. The right way to give:
      • In secret (“left hand / right hand”)
         – your Father will reward you

II. Praying in secret (5-8)
   A. The wrong way to pray:
      • To be seen by other people (“synagogues and street corners”)
         – already received their reward in full
      • Meaningless repetition (“babbling like pagans”)
         – think they will be heard because of their many words
   B. The right way to pray:
      • In secret (“go into your room, close the door”)
         – your Father will reward you
      • Simple, direct petitions (see the Lord’s Prayer: vv. 9-13)
         – your Father knows what you need before you ask him

III. Fasting in secret (16-18)
   A. The wrong way to fast:
      • To show other people (“look somber … disfigure their faces”)
         – already received their reward in full
   B. The right way to fast:
      • In secret (“put oil on your head and wash your face”)
         – your Father will reward you

Note: Click on the Sermons tab at the top of the blog for this and other messages.

Sunday Worship at Emanuel AME Church after the Massacre

Kate Shellnutt reports on the first Sunday of worship at Emanuel AME church following the shooting incident earlier this week:

Rev. Gillison welcomed members, guests, and media, saying, “This is the day that the Lord has made, and we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Tucked away in the back row of the balcony, part of me wondered, “Rejoice? Right now? On this day?” I was overruled by the 500-plus crowd below, who shouted along with him.

It kept coming. Prayers thanking God for his blessings. For waking them up this morning. A reading from 1 Thessalonians: “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (5:16-18, KJV). They literally sounded the trumpet, making a joyful noise with praise anthems and soloists walking the aisles until the cordless mic started cutting in and out.

“Many hearts are broken and tears are still being shed, but through it all we are reminded we serve a God who still cares,” Gillison told the congregation, the first of several messages coupling the tragedy with a testimony of God’s faithfulness. (Source: CT)

Related post: Relatives of Church Shooting Victims Address Charleston Shooter in Court [Video and Transcript]

Relatives of Church Shooting Victims Address Charleston Shooter in Court [Video and Transcript]

This is a powerful video as relatives of the church shooting victims at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston address Dylan Roof, the shooter, in court. (Transcript follows below.)

Nadine Collier, the daughter of 70-year-old Ethel Lance: “I forgive you. You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again. I will never, ever hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul. You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people. But God forgive you. And I forgive you.”

Anthony Thompson, representative for the family of 59-year-old Myra Thompson: “I forgive you and my family forgives you. But we would like you to take this opportunity to repent. Repent, confess, and give your life to the one who matters the most: Christ. Because he can change your ways no matter what happens to you. And then you’ll be okay.”

Felicia Sanders, mother of 26-year-old Tywanza Sanders: “We welcomed you Wednesday night in our Bible study with open arms. You have killed some of the most beautiful people that I know. Every fiber in my body hurts, and I’ll never be the same. Tywanza Sanders was my son. But Tywanza Sanders was my hero. Tywanza was my hero. But as we said in the Bible study, we enjoyed you, but may God have mercy on you.”

Alana Simmons, grand-daughter of 74-year-old Daniel Simmons: “Although my grandfather and the other victims died at the hands of hate, this is proof, everyone’s plea for your soul is proof that they lived in love and their legacies will live in love. So hate won’t win.”

Sister of 54-year-old Cynthia Hurd: “On behalf of my family for not allowing hate to win, for me I’m a work in progress, and I acknowledge that I am very angry. But one thing … she taught me is that we are the family that love built. We have no root in hatred, so we have to forgive. I pray God on your soul, and I also thank God that I won’t be around when your judgment day comes. May God bless you.”

Related post: Sunday Worship at Emanuel AME Church after the Massacre

Sunday Morning SoundBytes – 6/14/2015

Sunday’s message from The Sermon on the Mount series was called Radical Love Over Hate, taken from Matthew 5:43-48. Here is a brief outline of the message:

I. The Pharisees taught: “Hate your enemy.” (43)
   A. Terrible misreading of Scripture:
      1) Limited the term “neighbor” to their fellow Israelites
         – cf. Luke 10:30-37
      2) Used God’s hatred for evil to allow personal animosity
         – Deut 7:2; Psalm 139:21-22
   B. The Old Testament actually taught:
      1) Love your neighbor as yourself (Lev 19:17-18)
      2) Do good to your enemy (Ex 23:4-5; Proverbs 25:21)

II. Jesus taught: “Love your enemies.” (44-48)
   A. Pray for those who persecute you (44)
   B. Live as children of your heavenly Father (45)
   C. As Christians we should do more than others (46-47)
   D. Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect (48)

Three applications:
   1) Only God can give you the surpassing righteousness you need to enter heaven (2 Cor 5:21)
   2) Only God can help you love your enemies (Romans 5:5)
   3) While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)

Note: Click on the Sermons tab at the top of the blog for this and other messages.