Sermons on Spiritual Growth

Watch and Pray

We do everything we can to avoid painful realities. There are two techniques that have proven especially effective, however. These are hyperactivity and sedation. On one hand, we keep ourselves so busy that we stay ahead of the painful realities of our lives, and on the other, we sedate ourselves so we can sleep through the pain. We rush around all day until we finally crash,only to awaken to start the cycle all over again. Meanwhile, our souls are shriveling…

The Unexpected Sabbath

The world has come to a standstill. Schools are shut down, businesses have closed, travel has slowed to a crawl, the economy is tanking, and even churches have been forced to close their doors. The novel coronavirus (or Covid-19) was designated a pandemic by the World Health Organization, forcing everyone to take extraordinary precautions in order to slow the spread of this deadly disease. Many people are justifiably concerned about the health implications of this pandemic as well as the…

The Day Religion Died

In this, the final installment of Losing My Religion, we also consider how religion led to Jesus’ crucifixion and how His death on the cross marks the day religion died. Pastor Gary will discuss the surprising similarities between religion and secular humanism and how both fall short of their promises to bring us peace. “The most striking, resented, and dangerous of Jesus’ activities was his opposition to religion as that was understood in his time. This is what led to…

Tribal Identities

We all carry many identities: mother, son, doctor, student, American, Refugee, white, black, conservative, progressive, Southern Baptist, Atheist. The list can go on and on. In a culture that is increasingly divided by our identities, we must recognize the need to rest our identity in Christ. Only when our identity is in Christ can we transcend our tribal identities and truly love our neighbors. Join us for part 7 of Losing My Religion where we will look at the problem…

Religious Skubala

The people of God are routinely warned against profanity. From Proverbs in the Old Testament, to the words of Jesus in the Gospels, and throughout the New Testament, believers are constantly warned about the dangers of an untamed tongue. So what could possibly have driven a man who wrote the majority of the books in our New Testament to cuss? Join us for part 6 of Losing My Religion where we look at one of the most provocative words recorded…

So We Can Share in God’s Life

Thousands of evangelistic conversations have started with the question, “If you were to die tonight, do you know for certain you would go to heaven?” While this question has been effective for many, for others it has made the Gospel sound less like good news and more like a life insurance plan. Jesus said He came to give life and give it abundantly. While we all need life insurance, we want abundant life. Join us for the final message in…

Come to Shut Down Religion

At its best, religion is our attempt to get to God. At its worst, it is an effort to hide from God while attempting to manipulate and control others. Jesus did not come to give us a new religious system. He came to end religion by offering us a relationship with God that is not dependent on temples, priests, or sacrifices, but on God’s abundant grace and our faith in Him. Join us for part six of 30 Words, where…

Come to Set Up God’s Kingdom

For some, the Gospel message is primarily about going to heaven when we die. While that is good news, it is not the best news. Jesus came to do much more than take us to heaven when we die; He came to set up God’s kingdom here and now. Join us for part five of 30 Words where we will learn about God’s Kingdom and how it gives us hope now and forever.

Come to Save Us From Sin

We don’t like the word “sin.” It sounds way too judgmental. It makes us think of legalistic people, hypocrisy, and everything we don’t like about religion and church. While most people don’t claim to be perfect, few are willing to embrace the title of “sinner.” We may be willing to admit a “mistake,” but we are reluctant to say that we have “sinned.” The problem with the word “mistake” is that it is insufficient to describe our problem. You make…

Come to Show Us God’s Love

God is love. There are very few people who would disagree with that statement, and even fewer who wouldn’t at least say they hope that is the case. But how do we know for sure? In part three of 30 Words, we will consider what it means that God is love and how Jesus came to prove it to us once and for all.

Jesus Is God with Us

You cannot understand the Gospel as “good news” until you understand who Jesus is. And once you truly understand who Jesus is, there is no way you will ever understand the Gospel as anything other than good news! Jesus is not just a great teacher who established a world religion. He is God with skin on – God with us – God for us, not against us. Join us for part two of 30 Words where Pastor Gary will share…

Destination

There are places we want to go and places we must go. We want to go on vacation; we must go to the dentist. We want to go to the movies or a sporting event; we must go to school or work. Whether it is a “want to” or a “must” go place, technology allows us to type in the destination and our phones will tell us how to get there. That’s exactly how many of us approach prayer. We…