Sermon outline 18 June 20-17

 

Scripture

 

Genesis 18:1-15 & 21:1-7

Core Idea and purpose

 

Core
Idea: Circumstances may get so dire & difficult, that we laugh, in disbelief, at what God might do. After laughing, however, we should look for God's deliverance. We should laugh then look.

Purpose: To encourage people to look for God's miraculous work in their lives.

The Sermon

  1. Introduction: Have you ever laughed at God?
    1. Perhaps your life was spiraling down the proverbial toilet when some do-gooder said, "Don't worry, God will get you through" and you laughed out loud at such a ludicrous thought.
    2. Maybe you committed some atrocious, seemingly unforgivable sin and another do-gooder stated, "God will forgive you" and, in response, you laughed at such an absurd thought.
    3. If you've ever laughed at God, you're in Good company. The great Israeli matriarch, Sarah, laughed at God.
  2. Sarah's story
    1. First, she laughed (Genesis 18:1-15)
  • When she was 89 years old, the Lord told her that in about 1 year she would conceive and have a baby.
  • In response, she laughed.
  • Yeah, if I was filling her shoes, I probably would have laughed too.
  1. Then she looked - Sarah's story doesn't end with her laughter. (Genesis 21:1-7)
  • After laughing at God, she began to look for God to fulfill His promise.
  • Think about it
    • If she conceived 1 year later, then she had to have had sex with Abraham 3 months after laughing at God.
    • Sometime during those first 3 months, Sarah decided to stop laughing at God and started looking for God to fulfill His promise.
    • She may have thought, "Well, if God says I'm going to conceive, I better cooperate by being with my husband Abraham."
  1. To summarize: Sarah laughed then looked.
  2. Sarah's story is quite common.
  • Many of us initially laugh at God when we first hear about God's plans for our lives.
  • One such person is Lee Strobel.
  1. Lee Strobel's story
    1. He's a well-known Christian Apologist
  • Author of many books, such as "The Case for Christ" & "The Case for Faith".
  • These books describe the plethora of evidence supporting the major claims of Christianity.
  1. Prior to becoming a Christian Apologist, he was an atheist.
  • He erroneously believed the evidence against Christianity was strait forward
  • He laughed at the very idea of God.
    • If someone had approached him during his teen and young adult years and told him he would become a Christian Apologist, he probably would have responded with grandiose laughter.
  1. When his wife, Leslie, became a Christian, Lee decided to look and investigate the feasibility of the Christian religion.
  • Leslie was an intelligent woman and if she became a Christian, then the claims of Christianity was worth a look.
  • Lee also noticed how Leslie became a better, more self-confident person since becoming a Christian.
  • As a Crime reporter for the Chicago Tribune, he was quite adept at following the evidence.
    • So, he looked at the documentary, eyewitness and archeological evidence
    • He concluded that Christianity was not a blind leap of faith but a leap of faith with a preponderance of the evidence supporting it.
  1. Lee Strobel laughed at first but then he looked and found God.
  1. Most of us find ourselves laughing at God from time to time.
    1. When I've laughed at God
  • If someone had approached me when I was in college and stated that I would become a pastor and develop a passion for prison ministry, I would have responded with a hearty laugh.
    • In my mind, I was rough & tough and was going to be a hard-hitting Army General.
    • Pastors aren't very rough & tough. That wasn't for me…so I thought.
  • When God first put the idea of becoming a pastor into my head, I pretty much laughed at him.
    • I pushed the thought out of my head and re-focused myself on becoming the great military leader I thought I was destined to be.
    • After a while, I found myself looking for God and He directed my path towards ordained ministry.
  1. Some of you may be laughing at God
  • Maybe you're currently going through a tough time in life and you have no idea how God will get you through.
  • Maybe you can't fathom God loving you right now because of something you've done.
  • Life is so bad, you laugh at the idea of God caring about you. Go ahead, laugh.
  1. When you're done laughing, start looking for how God is working in your life.
  • Laugh then look.


 

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Sermon outline 18 June 20-17

 

Scripture

 

Genesis 18:1-15 & 21:1-7

Core Idea and purpose

 

Core
Idea: Circumstances may get so dire & difficult, that we laugh, in disbelief, at what God might do. After laughing, however, we should look for God's deliverance. We should laugh then look.

Purpose: To encourage people to look for God's miraculous work in their lives.

The Sermon

  1. Introduction: Have you ever laughed at God?
    1. Perhaps your life was spiraling down the proverbial toilet when some do-gooder said, "Don't worry, God will get you through" and you laughed out loud at such a ludicrous thought.
    2. Maybe you committed some atrocious, seemingly unforgivable sin and another do-gooder stated, "God will forgive you" and, in response, you laughed at such an absurd thought.
    3. If you've ever laughed at God, you're in Good company. The great Israeli matriarch, Sarah, laughed at God.
  2. Sarah's story
    1. First, she laughed (Genesis 18:1-15)
  • When she was 89 years old, the Lord told her that in about 1 year she would conceive and have a baby.
  • In response, she laughed.
  • Yeah, if I was filling her shoes, I probably would have laughed too.
  1. Then she looked - Sarah's story doesn't end with her laughter. (Genesis 21:1-7)
  • After laughing at God, she began to look for God to fulfill His promise.
  • Think about it
    • If she conceived 1 year later, then she had to have had sex with Abraham 3 months after laughing at God.
    • Sometime during those first 3 months, Sarah decided to stop laughing at God and started looking for God to fulfill His promise.
    • She may have thought, "Well, if God says I'm going to conceive, I better cooperate by being with my husband Abraham."
  1. To summarize: Sarah laughed then looked.
  2. Sarah's story is quite common.
  • Many of us initially laugh at God when we first hear about God's plans for our lives.
  • One such person is Lee Strobel.
  1. Lee Strobel's story
    1. He's a well-known Christian Apologist
  • Author of many books, such as "The Case for Christ" & "The Case for Faith".
  • These books describe the plethora of evidence supporting the major claims of Christianity.
  1. Prior to becoming a Christian Apologist, he was an atheist.
  • He erroneously believed the evidence against Christianity was strait forward
  • He laughed at the very idea of God.
    • If someone had approached him during his teen and young adult years and told him he would become a Christian Apologist, he probably would have responded with grandiose laughter.
  1. When his wife, Leslie, became a Christian, Lee decided to look and investigate the feasibility of the Christian religion.
  • Leslie was an intelligent woman and if she became a Christian, then the claims of Christianity was worth a look.
  • Lee also noticed how Leslie became a better, more self-confident person since becoming a Christian.
  • As a Crime reporter for the Chicago Tribune, he was quite adept at following the evidence.
    • So, he looked at the documentary, eyewitness and archeological evidence
    • He concluded that Christianity was not a blind leap of faith but a leap of faith with a preponderance of the evidence supporting it.
  1. Lee Strobel laughed at first but then he looked and found God.
  1. Most of us find ourselves laughing at God from time to time.
    1. When I've laughed at God
  • If someone had approached me when I was in college and stated that I would become a pastor and develop a passion for prison ministry, I would have responded with a hearty laugh.
    • In my mind, I was rough & tough and was going to be a hard-hitting Army General.
    • Pastors aren't very rough & tough. That wasn't for me…so I thought.
  • When God first put the idea of becoming a pastor into my head, I pretty much laughed at him.
    • I pushed the thought out of my head and re-focused myself on becoming the great military leader I thought I was destined to be.
    • After a while, I found myself looking for God and He directed my path towards ordained ministry.
  1. Some of you may be laughing at God
  • Maybe you're currently going through a tough time in life and you have no idea how God will get you through.
  • Maybe you can't fathom God loving you right now because of something you've done.
  • Life is so bad, you laugh at the idea of God caring about you. Go ahead, laugh.
  1. When you're done laughing, start looking for how God is working in your life.
  • Laugh then look.


 

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Sermon Outline 04 June 2017

Scripture

 

John 7:37-39

Acts 2:1-21

 

Core Idea and purpose

 

Core
Idea: As Christians,
the Holy Spirit should flow through our hearts and into the world, touching the hearts of everyone we associate with.

Purpose: To encourage people to continuously repent and cooperate with the Holy Spirit to ensure the free flowing of the Spirit through our hearts and into the world.

 

Summary

 

Living water is often used throughout Scripture to describe God as the source of life, joy, and peace. (Living water refers to any moving water, such as streams, rivers, and waterfalls.) Psalm 1 teaches that those who follow God's Law are like a tree planted next to a river. Psalm 46 talks about a river running through Jerusalem, providing life sustaining water. What's interesting is that, unlike most major cities, Jerusalem doesn't have a river supporting it. The inhabitants depend on God to be the life giving and sustaining river.

Jesus uses the metaphor of living water to describe the Holy Spirit. He states that those who believe in Him will have streams of living water flowing from within them. These 'streams of living water' is identified as the Holy Spirit in the next verse. So, as believers, we are like rivers of flowing water. The Holy Spirit flows through us out into the world. What kind of river are you? Are you a tiny trickle of water or a roaring waterfall? If you learn to develop a repentant attitude and cooperate with the Holy Spirit, you'll become like the Niagara Falls. The Holy Spirit will flow through you with tremendous force and touch the hearts of those around you with God's love. If, however, you don't cooperate with the Holy Spirit and do your own thing, you'll be nothing more than a trickle of water dripping down the rocks of a mountain. We should all desire to be the Niagara Falls. This is what our loving God desires for us. So, let's learn to develop an attitude of repentance and cooperate with the Holy Spirit so we can be huge, powerful rivers of living water.

The Sermon

  1. Introduction: Rivers, the source of life
    1. Boy Scout Backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail
  • At base camp, camped next to a god sized mountain stream.
  • Loved to play in the stream
  • At night, the sound of the stream would put me to sleep
  • People and animals tend to congregate around living water such as streams and rivers because they sustain life
  1. Most big cities are built next to major rivers
  • Washington D.C. – Potomac River
  • London, England – Thames
  • Moscow, Russia – Moskva River
  • Jacksonville, FL. – St. John's River
  • Titusville, Port St John and Cocoa – Indian River Lagoon
  1. Throughout the Bible, living waters (Water with movement, such as streams and rivers) are used to describe God as the source and sustainer of life
  • Psalm 1:3 – Those who follow God's Law are like a tree planted by a stream
  • Psalm 46:4-5 – States that there is a life sustaining river running through Jerusalem.
    • Jerusalem is one of the few major cities that is not located next to a river or large body of water
    • The river referred to here is God. The Lord God is the river that sustains life for the inhabitants of Jerusalem
  • Jesus takes this metaphor of living water one step further and describes the Holy Spirit as 'stream of living water."
  1. John 7:37-39: Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as 'streams of living water'
    1. John 7:38 – "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."
  • As Christians, we become like rivers.
  • The water flows through us and into the world
  1. John 7:39 - By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
  • The 'streams of living water' is the Holy Spirit
  • Later, in John chapters 14 & 16, Jesus promises that every believer will receive the Holy Spirit into his/her heart.
  • This promise is fulfilled during the Jewish festival of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-12) when the Holy Spirit descended on the church
  • Every believer in Jesus Christ has the Holy Spirit residing in him/her.
  • The Holy Spirit should not only reside in us but flow through us into the world touching the hearts of all we encounter with God's love.
    • The Holy Spirit is not meant to pool inside our hearts, becoming like a mosquito infested puddle or pond.
    • The Holy Spirit is meant to eternally flow through our hearts and touch the hearts of all those around us.
  • We are like a river with the Holy Spirit flowing through us.
  1. This potentially makes every Christian extremely influential and powerful
  • The Holy Spirit is God. The Third Person in the Trinity
  • It is God flowing through us like a river to touch the hearts of those around us.
  • There is nothing more influential or powerful than God.
  1. What kind of river am I?
  1. If we are like a river with the Holy Spirit flowing through us, then we need to ask, "What kind of river am I?"
    1. What kind of river am I?
  • A tiny trickle that drips down some mountain rocks?
    • The Holy Spirit just seeps out of your heart.
    • It's barely noticeable by those around you
  • A small stream?
    • The Holy Spirit is flowing through you but not always in a substantial way
    • Sometimes you dry up
    • People may or may not experience the love of God as a result of being around you
  • A major river, like the Mississippi?
    • The Holy Spirit is flowing through you in a mighty way
    • People can't help but notice God's love as it flows through you in a relentless way
  • A powerful river, like the Niagara falls?
    • The Holy Spirit gushes through your heart with tremendous force
    • Everyone around you is drenched by the Holy Spirit and experiences God's love
  1. None of us should be content with being a trickle or small stream.
  • We should all desire to be like the Niagara Falls.
  • How do we become a river like the Niagara Falls?
  1. Becoming a river like Niagara Falls
    1. First: Must have an attitude of repentance
  • It's the sinful desires within our hearts that keep the Spirit from flowing through us
    • Sin separates us from God and the Holy Spirit is God.
    • So, if we have sinful attitudes within our hearts, the Holy Spirit can't flow through us
    • It's our sinful attitudes that can turn a Mississippi or Niagara falls into a little trickle.
    • It's sin that can cause us to be a dry stream.
  • Rubber hose analogy
    • Water runs smoothly through a hose until you put a kink in the hose. Then the water stops.
    • The rubber hose is our heart
    • The water is the Holy Spirit
    • The kink is the sin stopping the Holy Spirit from flowing through.
  • Real life example
    • As a pastor, it's easy for me to become jealous of a bigger church that has ministries and resources my church doesn't have.
    • As a result of this jealousy, I can find myself talking bad about that church
    • When this jealousy resides in my heart, I become a river that is nothing more than a little trickle of water. There is almost no Holy Spirit flowing through me to touch the hearts of those around me.
    • After repenting, God forgives my sinful attitude and removes it from my heart. Then I become a big, powerful river. The Holy Spirit can flow through me in a mighty way to touch the hearts of those around me.
  1. Second: Must cooperate with the Holy Spirit
  • It's the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sins. After we repent, it's the Holy Spirit who cleanses our hearts of that sin.
  • In order for the Holy Spirit to do this, we must cooperate with the Holy Spirit.
  • On June 14, 2017 we will begin a study on the Holy Spirit at Wonderful Worship Wednesday. For now, we need to know that the primary ways to cooperate with the Spirit are:
    • Prayer & fasting
    • Bible study
    • Worship
    • Small group fellowship/accountability
    • Service & generosity
  • Through these practices, the Holy Spirit will touch and change our hearts.
    • The Spirit will cleanse our hearts of sinful desires and replace those desires with God's love.
    • As this happens, the Spirit will be able to flow more powerfully through us to touch the hearts of those around us.
  1. Examples of Major Rivers
    1. Most people are not a Niagara Falls
  • Mother Teresa may have been approaching the Niagara Falls status
  • Of course, Jesus is the biggest, most powerful river.
    • He had absolutely no sinful desire to impede the flow of the Spirit through His heart.
    • Jesus was a Niagara Falls when He walked the earth.
  1. Some Christians are major rivers. Where ever they go, they bring love, joy & peace. Look at our past saints. Some examples are:
  • Claudette Ford
  • John Hempfling
  1. Like these Christians, we need to continuously repent and cooperate with the Spirit so that we can become a great river on its way to becoming a Niagara Falls.
  1. Conclusion: As Christians, we need to ask: "What kind of river am I?"

    1. How can we answer this? How can we know if the Spirit is flowing through us to touch the hearts of those around us?
    2. We know by looking at the fruit we produce in our lives.
  • This is known as the Fruit of the Spirit
    • Love
    • Joy
    • Peace
    • Patience
    • Kindness
    • Goodness
    • Faithfulness
    • Gentleness
    • Self-control
  • Is your life characterized by these nine features?
    • If all nine are prevalent in your life, then you're a major river approaching Niagara Falls.
    • If only one or two are prevalent, then you're a little trickle or stream.
  • What kind of river are you?
Posted in Pastor's Thoughts | Comments Off on Sermon Outline 04 June 2017

Sermon Outline 28 May 2017

Scripture

1 Peter 3:13-17

Core Idea and purpose

 

Core
Idea: God calls us to share our faith in a hostile world. By doing so, we demonstrate trust in Jesus.

Purpose: To encourage the congregants to share their faith with gentleness & respect in a hostile world.

The Sermon

  1. Hello, my name is Patrick.
    1. Most of you probably know me as St. Patrick because of the holiday named after me.
  • It's funny how people remember my life.
    • Every March they wear green, recall how I supposedly drove all the snakes out of Ireland and drink green beer.
    • It's all funny because my life wasn't about any of that.
  • My life was about gently & respectfully sharing the good news of Jesus in a hostile world.
  1. I think 1 Peter 3:13-17 sums up my life nicely.
  1. 1 Peter 3:13-17
    1. It says: "Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened." But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil."
    2. As followers of Jesus, our lives should demonstrate a hope that is vastly different from the world's conception of hope.
  • Christian hope is not based on something we want to happen but may or may not happen.
  • Christian hope is based on the absolute assurance that God keeps His promises.
    • God promises eternal life through faith in Jesus and that promise gives us joy & peace.
    • God also promises that we'll become holy & loving like Jesus as we walk in a relationship with God.
    • By living a holy life characterized by love, people will see our hope and ask us where they can get it and that's when we can witness to them with gentleness & respect.
  1. Witnessing with gentleness & respect
  • We don't force Christianity on people or bash them over the head with the thickest Bible we have.
  • We get to know people.
    • Listen to their stories and love them. We help them as much as we can.
    • Then, as the Holy Spirit leads us, we tell people how Jesus has changed our lives. We share our story.
    • This works, even in a hostile environment. I know because this is what I did in Ireland.
  1. My [St. Patrick's] life
    1. I was born in Roman Britain around 385 AD.
  • I grew up in a Christian family but didn't embrace the faith.
  • I considered Christianity to be for weaklings.
  • I didn't think I needed it…until I was 16 years old. That's when I was captured by Irish pirates, taken to Ireland and forced into slavery.
  1. As a slave, I was forced to watch over my master's sheep.
  • For six years, I spent many hungry & lonely days watching the sheep.
  • Those arduous days, however, became a blessing.
    • I found myself spending those days in prayer.
    • That's when I gave my life over to Jesus.
  • After six years of slavery, a voice told me that I would soon go home and a ship was waiting for me.
    • So, I escaped from my master and walked approximately 200 miles to a port.
    • There I found a ship willing to take me home.
  • After 3 days of sailing, the ship stopped at Gaul (Modern day France), where we embarked and foraged for food.
    • The land was ravaged and no one was to be found.
    • We may have been witnessing the devastation caused by the Germans when they crossed the Rhine and invaded Roman territory in 407 AD.
    • After convincing the sailors to pray to God for food, a herd of pigs suddenly appeared.
  • A year or two later, we sailed into Roman Britain and I finally made it home.
  1. My return to Ireland
  • A year or two after arriving at home, I saw a vision.
    • In this vision, a man from Ireland gave me a letter that said, "We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us."
    • I took this as God calling me to go and preach the good news of Jesus to the Irish, the very people who enslaved me.
  • So, I travelled to Gaul (what you modern people would call France), received some formal theological education and became ordained.
  • Then I went to Ireland to preach the gospel.
  1. I must say, Ireland was a hostile environment.
  • The land was ruled by a multitude of chieftains who constantly fought each other.
  • The populace, along with the Chieftains, clung to their Celtic pantheon god's.
    • When I first arrived, they were still practicing human sacrifice
  • I was not always welcomed and when I spoke against their slave system, I became even more unpopular.
    • I was ridiculed, beaten and imprisoned
  1. God, however, was with me and empowered me to share Jesus.
  • After the son of one of the chieftains gave his life over to Jesus, others began to follow.
  • As the years went by, I was able to establish churches and bishops throughout much of Ireland while identifying more and more with the Irish.
    • As a slave, I was forced to learn their language and culture.
    • As a missionary I willingly learned their culture and even embraced it to a large extant. I became Irish.
    • I did my best to be gentle and respectful as I shared Jesus with them.
    • I spent approximately 30 years in Ireland and by the end of those 30 years, most of Ireland was Christian
  1. My example is, of course, 1,600 years old. Let me give you a more recent example of witnessing with gentleness and respect.
  1. The example of Elizabeth Elliot
    1. In 1956, Jim Elliot and four other Christian missionaries were speared to death by members of the Waorrani tribe in Ecuador.
    2. Two years later, Jim's wife, Elizabeth Elliot, met up with two females from the Waorani tribe.
  • The two Waorani females invited Elizabeth to live with their tribe.
  • For two years, Elizabeth lived with the tribe that killed her husband.
  • With patience, gentleness and respect, she shared her faith with this tribe.
  1. Christ is calling each one of us to "give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But to do this with gentleness and respect…"
    1. We must not be judgmental but love all people wherever we go. Then, when given the opportunity, we can share our faith journey.
  • Remember, preach the gospel with your deeds and when given the opportunity, use words.
  1. Are you a gentle & respectful witness in your…
  • Home
  • Work
  • Business
  • Social activities?
  1. We can't do this alone. We must have empowerment, protection and guidance from God. So, I'd like to leave you with one of my blessings:

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

Posted in Pastor's Thoughts | Comments Off on Sermon Outline 28 May 2017

Sermon outline 02 April 2017

 

Scripture

Ezekiel 37:1-14

Core Idea and purpose

 

Core
Idea: We all need God's reboot.

Purpose: To encourage people to continue in their journey towards Christ-likeness even when they need a reboot.

Summary

 

I love to reboot. It's my favorite way to deal with electronic malfunctions. When my computer acts up, I power it down, wait 10 seconds and start it back up. The same is true with my cable or Wi-Fi. I unplug them, wait 10 seconds and plug them back in. After rebooting, they usually work just fine.

Like our modern electronics, we often need rebooting and God is the master of rebooting. The prophet Ezekiel witnessed an example of Divine rebooting when he saw a vision of dry bones coming to life. The vision began with a scene of hundreds of thousands of dried out, bleached bones scattered throughout a valley. These bones were not merely turned off or unplugged. They had been dead for a long, long time.

Then the Lord asked Ezekiel, "Can these bones live?" To which Ezekiel replied, "Lord, you know the answer." The Lord then told Ezekiel to prophesy over the bones. What happened next could be a scene from a science fiction movie. The bones began to shake and move towards each other. As they touched each other, tendons connected them; muscles grew and blood vessels and nerves formed and skin enveloped them. Thousands and thousands of bodies were thus lying motionless on the valley floor until God breathed into them the breath of life. The bodies then stood up, forming a living army of vibrant humanity. Now, that's a reboot!!!!

We all need a Divine reboot. By not loving God, neighbors and ourselves, we make a mess of our lives and become spiritually dead like dry bones. When we repent and receive God's forgiveness through faith in Jesus, God puts flesh on our dry bones and breathes new life into us. With this new life, we are able to mature into Christ-likeness and become the great people God created us to be.

A man named Ralph Reagan needed a serious reboot. He began drinking at 9 years old and was thrown into a life of crime at the age of 12 by a bully's taunting. When he was 13 years old, he witnessed the brutal murder of his friend. He was in and out of prison for 20 years; living a life of frustration, hopelessness and turmoil. Unable to find a legitimate job – recidivism was a way of life for him.

Then, during his last stint in prison, God rebooted his life. Ralph finally noticed God's hand reaching down to lift him up. While spending 30 days in solitary confinement, he read God's word and became a changed man. Today, Ralph is helping others find what he found. Through his Bread of Life Rescue Mission and prison ministry, many homeless and incarcerated people are also experiencing God's reboot through faith in Jesus.

If God can reboot Pastor Ralph Reagan's life, he can reboot yours or mine. If you need a reboot for whatever reason, go to God, repent and surrender to His loving will. Go to God as dried, dead bones and allow God to give you new life with new flesh. Seek the reboot!

The Sermon

  1. Introduction: I love to reboot. It's my favorite way to deal with electronic malfunctions.
    1. When my computer acts up, I power it down, wait 10 seconds and start it back up.
    2. The same is true with my cable or Wi-Fi. I unplug them, wait 10 seconds and plug them back in. After rebooting, they usually work just fine.
    3. Like our modern electronics, we often need rebooting and God is the master of rebooting.
  2. The prophet Ezekiel witnessed an example of Divine rebooting when he saw a vision of dry bones coming to life.
    1. The vision began with a scene of hundreds of thousands of dried out, bleached bones scattered throughout a valley.
  • These bones were not merely turned off or unplugged.
  • They had been dead for a long, long time.
  • Then the Lord asked Ezekiel, "Can these bones live?"
    • Sometimes, in our lives, life beats us down and we feel like dried up bones.
    • When we feel like dried bones, the Lord may ask us, "Can these bones live?"
    • The answer is always "yes". Nothing is impossible with God but Ezekiel played it safe and replied, "Lord, you know the answer."
  • The Lord then told Ezekiel to prophesy over the bones.
  1. What happened next could be a scene from a science fiction movie.
  • The bones began to vibrate. Then they began to shake and move towards each other.
  • As they touched each other, tendons connected them; muscles grew and blood vessels and nerves formed and skin enveloped them.
  • Thousands and thousands of bodies were thus lying motionless on the valley floor until God breathed into them the breath of life.
  • The bodies then stood up, forming a living army of vibrant humanity.
  • Now, that's a Divine reboot!!!!
  1. We all need a Divine reboot.
  • By not loving God, neighbors and ourselves, we make a mess of our lives and become spiritually dead like dry bones.
  • When we repent and receive God's forgiveness through faith in Jesus, God puts flesh on our dry bones and breathes new life into us.
  • With this new life, we are able to mature into Christ-likeness and become the great people God created us to be.
  1. A man named Ralph Reagan needed a serious reboot.
    1. Born in 1957
    2. He began drinking at 9 years old and was thrown into a life of crime at the age of 12 by a bully's taunting.
    3. When he was 13 years old, he witnessed the brutal murder of his friend by a mean prison guard
    4. He was in and out of prison for 20 years; living a life of frustration, hopelessness and turmoil. Recidivism was a way of life for him.
    5. Then, during his last stint in prison, God rebooted his life.
  • Ralph finally noticed God's hand reaching down to lift him up.
  • While spending 30 days in solitary confinement, he read God's word and became a changed man.
    • Ralph entered solitary confinement as a pile of dead, dried bones
    • He left solitary confinement as a living, vibrant human capable of becoming the wonderful person God created Him to be
  • Today, Ralph is helping others find what he found.
    • Founded Bread of Life Rescue Mission
    • Involved in Prison ministry
    • Many homeless and incarcerated people are experiencing God's reboot through faith in Jesus because of his ministries.
  1. If God can reboot Pastor Ralph Reagan's life, he can reboot yours or mine.
    1. If you need a reboot for whatever reason, go to God, repent and surrender to His loving will.
    2. Go to God as dried, dead bones and allow God to give you new life with new flesh.
    3. Seek the reboot!


     

Posted in Pastor's Thoughts | Comments Off on Sermon outline 02 April 2017