This past Sunday at Wildwood I had the privilege of preaching part 8 of the series “Lego Church: Built to Be Together.” This message centered around 1 Corinthians 15:50-57. If you missed the service and wanted to listen to the message or if you attended the service but would like to share the message with a friend, then I have posted the sermon audio online here for you. You can either
Listen to the message online by using the media player below:
Or you can download the mp3 file by clicking on the link below.
On Sunday, August 4, I preached a sermon at Wildwood Community Church entitled, “Lego Church part 7.” This message expounded upon the truth of 1 Corinthians 12. If you missed Sunday and would like to listen to the message, or if you were present Sunday and would like to share the message with a friend . . . I have posted the sermon audio below for you.
You can listen online via the embedded audio player:
This past July, my family was invited to join a few others on a river rafting trip down the Arkansas River near Buena Vista, Colorado. My first inclination about this invitation was “absolutely NO.” Before this past July, the closest thing I had ever done to white water rafting was Silver Dollar City’s “Lost River of the Ozarks.” and that was a bit of a white knuckler for me. Needless to say, my skill level is not that great. In addition, I am somewhat scared of water, not being a great swimmer. If it were up to me, I would never even venture ONTO the river alone, much less try to navigate class 3 rapids in an inflatable raft with my family in tow.
As we pondered the invitation more, however, we began to reconsider. Two things changed our minds. First, there was something truly exhilarating about the thought of taking this trip down the river. Second, we became familiar with the good people at Noah’s Ark river rafting, meeting the experienced guide who would pilot our boat down the river. The allure of adventure plus the skill of the expert guide were enough to get us in the boat and on the water.
Though I had no skill or knowledge of the river on my own, my guide was able to steer our boat to just the right angles and at just the right speeds to make it down the river safely. Sure, the guide asked me to paddle from time to time, but clearly He was the one moving the ship.
Three hours after boarding the boat, we got off having successfully navigated the river rapids. The trip was a total blast and there was a great sense of accomplishment as we hit the shore. As I stood on the shore and pondered the experience, however, I was struck with how silly it would be for me to boast about my river rafting experience. I made it down the river relying on someone else’s skill and experience. I simply had the joy to paddle along and enjoy the ride.
Living a life of purpose, on mission with Jesus Christ is kind of like standing on the edge of the Arkansas River sometimes. Surveying our own skills and experience, many times we feel scared to step into the water aboard a ministry raft. Some turn down a lot of ministry opportunities out of a fear that we are inadequate for the job. We are unsure of our own abilities in the Christian life, so the thought of leading others onto this river terrifies us! In 1 Corinthians 12, however, the Apostle Paul encourages all believers in Jesus Christ that they have a guide in the “boat” with them who wants to help them navigate the river of living water. Jesus Christ wants to involve us in His plans and He has placed within us the Holy Spirit as our guide to take us places that would otherwise be impossible.
Knowing the presence of the Spirit in our lives, also should prevent us from boasting about our ministry service. We get to navigate these rapids NOT because of our own skill, experience, or power, but because of His presence with us in the boat.
This Sunday morning at WIldwood, we will be looking at select verses from 1 Corinthians 12 in part 7 of our series “Lego Church: Built to Be Together,” and expanding further on the thoughts included in this brief post. I hope you will join us in either our 9:30 or 10:50 worship service this week!
On Sunday, July 21, I preached message #5 in the “Lego Church: Built to Be Together” series at Wildwood Community Church. This message centered on 1 Corinthians 9:19-27. The sermon audio is posted here in case you wanted to listen to it again or share it with a friend.
Kurtis Blow said it well back in 1984, “Basketball is my favorite sport . . . ”
It’s true, I love the game of basketball. I love to play, watch, talk about, or just be around the game. I sincerely hope my son wants to play basketball one day, as I would love the chance to coach a group of little leaguers in this great game . . . a pass forward to a new generation the love of a game that Hesser, Cross, Dishman, Hughes, Johnson, Shaffer, and my Dad instilled in me.
Though I was never a big scorer in any of the organized basketball I played (I averaged more floor burns than buckets), I have settled on a shooting philosophy that I think should be in the mind of every kid as they learn to shoot the basketball at game speed. That philosophy is simple: shoot to make, not to shoot.
Whether I am playing or watching basketball, I see guys all too often take shots just because they feel the need to shoot (it’s their turn). When someone is shooting to shoot, they will rush a shot, take a bad shot, or refuse to throw it to a teammate who has a better shot . . . just because they feel like they need to shoot it. This is crazy though. You do not win games by shooting, you win games by making. So, don’t shoot unless there is a good chance you are going to make it.
You see this same dynamic at play with dribbling. Players dribble just to dribble . . . or pass just to pass. The goal of the game is to outscore the opponent, not to take more shots, dribble more in circles, or play catch with your teammates. All dribbling, shooting, and passing should be designed to make (not take) more shots.
Sports help teach people lessons like this that are valuable in many areas of life after the final buzzer sounds. In fact, the Apostle Paul tapped into these lessons as he wrote 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. In these verses he says:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
Paul was saying that the Christian should “shoot to make,” not just “shoot to shoot” in the spiritual life. In other words a believer in Jesus is to have purpose in their religious activity . . . not just go through the motions. Sadly, too many Christians just “shoot to shoot” instead of “shooting to make.” Too many of us read our Bible, pray, or attend worship services just to check the box and say we did it. We enter into those activities with only minimal expectation or sense of purpose. I say this is sad because these activities were never intended to be ends in themselves. We were not intended to shadow-box our way through the Christian life . . . we are supposed to actually be landing punches.
Jesus wants to involve us in His plans and His work. He wants to use us to share His hope and love with a dying world. In this life, we read His Word to prepare ourselves for battle with a proper understanding of who God is. We fellowship with other Christians to garner momentum and completeness to help us serve Him with our collective lives. We pray in order to express our personal relationship with the Savior and to tap into His power to work through us. Jesus gives us this purpose . . . and He invites us to live on purpose with Him for the rest of our lives.
So, as you think about your week, don’t just shoot to shoot . . . shoot to make.
I turn 40 one month from today. This is a big life moment for me. It makes me think of that scene from “City Slickers” (yeah that’s right . . . “City Slickers” came out 22 years ago. Today’s College Seniors were not alive when the movie was released. I am feeling old . . . ):
As you get older, though, you get to know yourself better and better. One thing I have found out about myself is that there is a distinct difference in me depending on if I am “training” for something, or not. I have had the great privilege of running in 4 marathons and 1 half marathon over the past decade. Getting ready for these races involves me eating right, exercising regularly, etc. While I am “in season” for an event, I make a lot of decisions to make reaching that goal a reality.
However, in the times of my life when I am not specifically training for an event, I have a tendency to eat too much, exercise too little, and make a whole series of small decisions that lead me to getting out of shape very quickly. This inconsistency drives some who know me crazy, but it is a reality I have to deal with in life, given my personality . . . effective when focused, but easily distracted.
I was thinking about my experiences in and out of season today as I was reflecting on the verses we are going to be looking at this Sunday morning at Wildwood in our 9:30 and 10:50 worship services. This week, we will be looking at 1 Corinthians 9:19-27. In these verses Paul talks about his singular objective in life of glorifying God and being used by Him to connect others to Christ. In making this objective a reality, Paul compares his evangelistic efforts to that of a sportsman . . . disciplined and focused; not being easily distracted or disqualified.
For me personally I need this message. I need to remember that I am always “in season” and that God desires me to live a disciplined life of purpose in His plan. This Sunday, we will be looking at these verses to see what that exactly means. I hope you can join us this week at Wildwood!
In prep for Sunday, you can do four things:
Pray that God would open your eyes to a deep understanding of His truth.
Read 1 Corinthians 9:19-27.
Bring something sporting to church this Sunday as a family (could be a wristband, a picture from a magazine of an athlete, a Lego creation that is sporting in nature) and put it on the table in the Gathering Hall marked for week 5 of our Lego Church series.
Invite a friend to join you this Sunday at Wildwood.
We look forward to worshipping with you this week as we explore week 5 of our current sermon series “Lego Church: Built to Be Together.” Check the video below for a further update:
Recently, my family had the chance to visit a working ranch. Part of the trip to the ranch included a short jaunt “inside the gate” where we could pet a few choice animals. My 6 year old son, Josh, charged right into the pen, past the pig, and face to face with a big sheep named Edward. Soon it became apparent that Edward was an angry sheep. (EDITORS NOTE: We found out that Edward was a girl. It seems obvious to me why Edward was angry. Sort of like the boy named Sue.)
Anyway, we knew Edward was angry not because he had a scowl on her face, but because she was a bit aggressive toward those in her pen. She raised her foot in protest and tried to block the path of anyone leaving her area. Oh yeah . . . and Edward kept trying to eat Joshua’s hat.
Visiting the ranch prompted our family to dress in western attire, and Josh was decked out in a straw hat to complement his cowboy gear. The irony of the situation is that Edward was in a pen filled with hay . . . the choice food of this sheep . . . but Edward wanted that dirty, chemically processed hat instead.
When we hear of Edward’s choice, we cut her some slack. After all, she is an animal without enough intellect to make determinations on which things are best to eat. Edward needs a shepherd to point her in the direction of the right things to eat. Her carnal instincts can betray her into eating a hat when she needs to eat hay.
I was thinking about this experience this past week as I reflected on 1 Corinthians 6:13b. In these verses, the Apostle Paul says, “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” At first glance, this passage may sound like the Lord is not for people having sex. This is not true. God created sex . . . and God made it fun. God is not against sex, just against sexual immorality. That is to say that God does not want His people to engage in any sexual behavior beyond that which takes place between a husband and a wife. In saying that the Lord is for the body and the body is for the Lord, Paul is arguing that we are created for MORE than just fulfilling our physical desires (including our sexual desires). God wants to live in relationship with us and shepherd us into focusing our sexual desires in the best place . . . in a committed relationship between a husband and a wife.
In a real way, God comes along to His people and shepherds them toward the hay (sex inside marriage) and not the hat (everything else.) He does this because sex between husbands and wives is constructive, while sex outside of marriage carries many problems. Warren Wiersbe says it this way,
“Sex outside of marriage is like a man robbing a bank: he gets something, but it is not his and he will one day pay for it. Sex within marriage can be like a person putting money into a bank: there is safety, security, and he will collect dividends. Sex within marriage can build a relationship that brings joys in the future; but sex apart from marriage has a way of weakening future relationships, as every Christian marriage counselor will tell you.”
So, the next time you are tempted to watch something you should not watch, sleep with someone who is not your spouse (even if they are just not YET your spouse), etc., take a moment and think about Edward. Save yourself . . . and eat the hay, not the hat.
This fall the uber-popular “Wicked” (a musical prequel to “The Wizard of Oz”) is scheduled to come to Oklahoma City’s Civic Center Music Hall. This musical is one of the most successful stage shows of all time. “Wicked’s” recipe for success includes a clever (surprisingly thought provoking) script, familiar characters, and outstanding music.
One of the key songs in this musical is a duet between two aspiring witches: Elphaba and Glinda. These two very different people are reflecting upon how their lives have impacted each other. In the song “For Good,” these two sing these words:
Like a comet pulled from orbit as it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder halfway through the wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.
Truly our lives are impacted by those around us, altering our reality and shaping who we are. I cannot imagine me being me without the imprint God has stamped into my life through my parents, sister, wife, son, and so many others. Like the song says, I do believe I have been changed for good by these people.
In 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, the Apostle Paul takes this idea to the next level . . . arguing that believers in Jesus Christ have been changed definitively for the better and certainly for good through their connection with their Savior. When a person trusts in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, their very identity changes. I may have a bit more of a drawl in my speech because I grew up in Oklahoma, but if we have trusted in Christ, we begin to LIVE in a new dialect, as our inner person is transformed into a part of the Body of Christ.
This union with Christ changes Christians for the better, and it also brings to light a number of implications for the ethical lives of those who follow Jesus. One such implication relates to the sexual life of the Christian. This Sunday (July 14) at Wildwood, we will reflect more on these verses in part 4 of our series Lego Church: Built to Be Together. In these verses, we will see how we are together with Christ . . . and how this changes us for good. I look forward to worshipping with you this weekend in our 9:30 or 10:50 worship service!
As we have done each week, we are asking families (if interested) to bring some items to a station in our Gathering Hall to help us remember the key points of each week’s message. This week, theming out of 1 Corinthians 6:20, we are asking people to bring play/toy money and drop it off a the designated “Week 4” station. Dropping these things off will hopefully spark conversations between you and those you live with about the reality of the message we are reflecting on from God’s Word for that week. Hope to see you there!
For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:20