Down But Not Out

So the first Sunday of March (the 6th), I tried something new with preaching… I had been scheduled to preach from Acts 15:36-16:5.  As I studied the passage, I felt like God was telling me to do something a little different.  Normally I would preach an exegetical-expository sermon, but this time I decided to try a first-person narrative.  In my passage, Barnabas and Paul, the great missionary team, argue and split over whether or not to take John Mark along with them on their second missionary journey.  Barnabas takes Mark and goes one way; Paul takes Silas and goes another.

No doubt Mark was pretty upset that they parted company over him.  But, God had other plans for Mark.  He brought Mark and Peter together, and they ended up in Rome, where many scholars believe Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark.  He and Paul reconciled in Rome while Paul was imprisoned there, and according to the testimony of some early church fathers, Peter sent Mark to plant a church in Alexandria, Egypt.  Mark was likely with both Peter and Paul when they were martyred, and eventually would himself be martyred for preaching the gospel.

What may have seemed like a failure in Mark’s life became an opportunity for God to move people around where He needed them to be so that Mark would be mentored by Peter and eventually write his Gospel.  God took a mess and painted an amazing picture with it!  In this first-person narrative of Mark’s life, I explore what Mark may have felt in the middle of the controversy, and how God’s resolution of the problem actually turned into a great victory for the Kingdom.  I hope it’s helpful to you!

This message was delivered at Pontiac Bible Church.

Six Lessons from a Missionary Church

Do you see yourself as a missionary?  Or do you think of a missionary as someone who travels to a foreign country and engages in some sort of full-time ministry as a career?  While we commend, pray for, and encourage people who are called to minister overseas, we also need to recognize that to be a Christian is to be a missionary–if you belong to Christ you are sent as one of his missionaries to your corner of the world.  In this message I was honored to deliver to Pontiac Bible Church, we cover six lessons from a missionary church and how they apply to our lives both personally and collectively.  I hope you are challenged by this Scripture as much as I was when studying it!

The six lessons:

  1. A missionary church is naturally evangelistic.
  2. A missionary church is intentionally cross-cultural.
  3. A missionary church is empowered by the Holy Spirit.
  4. A missionary church has godly leaders.
  5. A missionary church practices what it preaches.
  6. A missionary church is a ministry church.

Photo by Barry J. Beitzel. Copyright 2014 Faithlife.

A Normal Christian Life

Sermon delivered at Pontiac Bible Church on 3/15/2015.

When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Day of Pentecost, the Church was born. Peter preached the first sermon and 3,000 people were saved (in a single day)! Then what happened? How did these new Christians go about living their lives? Did their faith in Christ change anything about the way they lived? What about you? If you belong to Christ, you also belong to His Body, the Church – a new community, a new group in society. What does your life as a Christian look like? As we study Acts 2:42-47, we’ll get a glimpse of a normal Christian life. How normal is yours?

While We Wait: Filling Your Waiting With Prayer & Preparation

Sermon delivered at Pontiac Bible Church on 3/1/2015.

Have you ever been in a season of waiting in life? Have you ever found yourself waiting on God for an answer or direction? What do you do while you wait? How can you get ready for God’s next move? The first Christians found themselves waiting on the Holy Spirit to come so that they could fulfill the mission Jesus gave them. As we read their story, we’ll discover how to wait on purpose and be ready to run when God shouts, “Go!”

Note: We had a technical issue during the recording this week, and apologize for the low audio quality!